EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy. It is designed to enable people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress caused by disturbing past events or life experiences. Studies have found that EMDR can provide results that used to take years to achieve using forms of psychotherapy treatment popular in the past.
Assumptions regarding severe emotional pain abound, but there is one assumption that almost everyone accepts as fact: that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.
Effective EMDR therapy proves that the mind actually doesn’t require an extensive amount of time to heal from severe psychological trauma as many assume. It can actually heal psychological trauma in a similar manner to the way it recovers from physical trauma. If you cut your leg, your body immediately goes into action to close the wound. If there is dirt, or another foreign object irritating the wound/preventing it from healing, it will hurt and continue to fester. Once the “foreign object” is removed from the wound, the body will take over once again and handle the healing process.
With EMDR therapy, the body exhibits a similar method of handling emotional and mental healing. the brain wants to be healthy and naturally moves towards that end. If there is a blockage or an imbalance (probably a repercussion of a traumatic event) the mental/emotional “wound” will continue to hurt and fester. This can result in intense emotional and mental pain and suffering. Similar to the example of the cut in the leg above, if the “block” is removed, the brain will immediately resume the healing process.
Clinicians use detailed protocols and procedures that are learned in intensive EMDR training sessions to assist clients in removing these “blocks” and allowing their brain to handle the natural healing process that will put an end to the pain and “festering” leftover from emotional distress caused by disturbing past events or life experiences.
Consider these amazing facts and figures on EMDR:
20 positive controlled outcome studies have been completed on the EMDR therapy process.
Some of the studies on EMDR show an amazing 84-90% of single-trauma victims getting rid of post-traumatic stress disorder after completing only three 90-minute EMDR sessions.
A study (funded by HMO Kaiser Permanente) found 100% of single trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after only six 50-minute sessions.
Another study on the EMDR process showed 77% of combat veterans leaving free of PTSD after only 12 EMDR sessions.
EMDR is a recognized form of effective psychotherapy treatment effective at alleviating symptoms and emotional distress caused by trauma or other disturbing life experiences. It has been officially recognized as an effective form of treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. It’s just as effective in treating the “everyday” traumas causing people low self-esteem, feelings of powerless, etc. as it is in treating the traumas that resulted in its worldwide recognition as an effective form of therapy.
During the eight-phase EMDR treatment, the clinician will determine a memory on which to start. The client will be asked to think about the event or trauma while the eyes track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. It is believed that due to biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations to the event arise and the client is able to begin to process the disturbing feelings and the memory itself.
Successful EMDR therapy results in the transformation of the meaning of the events causing pain to the client on an emotional level. For example a victim of rape may have been holding onto feelings of horror and self-disgust that were “blocking” the brain from its natural inclination to heal the mental/emotional “wound.” After EMDR therapy, these feelings shift to a firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.”
EMDR therapy differs from talk therapy in that insight gained through the therapy is from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes rather than clinician interpretation. One of the major benefits of EMDR therapy is that clients leave feeling empowered by the same experiences that once threatened to destroy them. Festering wounds are closed and then transformed by the EMDR therapeutic process without the need for talking about it in detail or doing homework, etc. EMDR therapy clients leave with a newfound emotional health and resolution that results naturally from the process.
For more information or to schedule a consultation for EMDR therapy, contact Lynn Brimhall, LCSW at New Adaptations: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 480-447-7073.