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What is EMDR Therapy, exactly? EMDR therapy is a form of trauma therapy that was developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro. The idea behind it is that eye movements can reduce the intensity of emotions and disturbing thoughts. Practicing EMDR involves recalling stressful past events and reprogramming the memory while using rapid eye movements. This type of treatment has been proven as an effective method to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences.
What is it?
EMDR Therapy doesn’t require extensive psychotherapy or talk therapy. Instead, it relies on how the brain naturally recovers from trauma and utilizes eye movement to enable a person to focus on a positive outcome of the memory while engaging eye movements to solidify the change in perception within the memory. Sessions typically last 55-90 minutes, and it can take more than one session to process a traumatic experience – although some individuals find that EMDR therapy helps them reach a resolution faster than traditional talk therapy.
It has been through multiple studies and clients in those studies were found to have vastly reduced or eliminated signs of PTSD after only a few 90 minute sessions.
A good example would be something like a victim of abuse who feels they “deserved” it. EMDR might help this person to see that as a destructive way of thinking, and help them reframe it to “I deserve to be treated in a healthy way and I’m in control of my life”. The memory is identified and reviewed while focusing on eye movements. This activity continues until this person doesn’t feel disturbed by the memory anymore.
During EMDR therapy, you process your memories safely in a way that can lead to a peaceful resolution.
Who is EMDR Therapy for?
EMDR therapy is typically practiced on clients who have particularly traumatic life experiences and memories. It’s also a substantive alternative for those who don’t see significant results from traditional talk therapy. Typically, it’s used as an effective treatment option for people that are suffering from PTSD, trauma, anxiety, panic, and other emotional distresses.
What can you expect in EMDR Therapy?
EMDR Therapy is structured into 8 phases
History and Treatment Planning
You work with your therapist to identify the targets for treatment
During an EMDR session, your therapist will guide you through the eight-step process. Going through this process can help you discover insights and form new thoughts while focusing on the targeted memory and engaging in the eye movement or other exercises.
As your memories are processed, you may begin to feel less overwhelmed or distressed when thinking about the different aspects of the memory. Some phases may require multiple sessions. If you’d like to know more about each phase – you can read about it in this “8 Phases of EMDR Therapy” guide by EMDRIA, or read about it in more detail here. At the time of writing this (May 2022), the World Health Organization and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies both recommend EMDR therapy as a treatment for adults and children with PTSD. It’s also endorsed by the Australian Psychological Society.
Take The First Step…
If you’re interested in speaking with someone more about EMDR therapy, we’re inviting you to take the first step and reach out to us to speak with a specialist on our team.