What Is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a nontraditional therapy—like CBT, DBT, etc.—that uses a patient’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, eating disorders, addictions, and anxiety with the primary goal being to weaken the negative emotions associated with disturbing memories that might otherwise create a debilitating response. EMDR is an individual-based and composed therapy that requires the patient to temporarily focus on a traumatic memory while a therapist induces bilateral eye movement. This stimulation has been associated with the abatement in the emotion and sharpness of that specific trauma memory, making it less impactful, and less likely you will experience a psychological response.
How EMDR Works
EMDR therapy is heavily connected to how memories are stored in the brain. EMDR allows new neural pathways to be connected to the traumatic memory. The emotions and thoughts that cause stress are now intertwined with new positive pathways between the right and left sides of the brain.
1. Client History
The therapist identifies and prioritizes the trauma memories for reprocessing.
The therapist trains the client in relaxation and self-management techniques.
A positive statement is chosen by the client to replace with the targeted memory.
Rhythmic stimuli are engaged and the client is open about all thoughts & emotions that arise.
The therapist helps the client connect the positive statement to the traumatic memory.
6. Body Scan
The client scans their body for any physical reactions to the traumatic experience.
Any remaining physical reactions are taken care of in the stage.
The therapist reviews and compares the previous session for progress.
What Can EMDR Help With?
EMDR is primarily known for helping individuals who suffer from trauma disorders and PTSD. Although there is not sufficient evidence that shows EMDR helps outside of those, this therapy has also been used to help:
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