Eye Movement Desentisation and Reprocessing therapy or EMDR, is a set of standardised protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches, it has been researched extensively and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.
Issues that EMDR is very useful in treating include:
Anxiety disorders including OCD
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Grief and Mourning, Complicated grief
Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders including DID
Birth trauma, medical trauma
Pain and somatic disorders
Any current symptom/problem that can be traced back to touchstone events which we can access (either through the conscious, sub-conscious mind of the body)
How Exactly Does EMDR Work?
It appears that EMDR has a direct effect on the way the brain processes information. This is very beneficial to someone who has experienced a trauma, as their brain cannot process information in the usual way.
When we have experienced trauma, a moment becomes ‘stuck’ in the mind, and we experience the trauma, the sounds, the smells and images over and over again. This, in turn, affects how we see the world and how we relate to others.
After a successful EMDR session, the brain can once again process information regularly, and the person no longer relieves the trauma when they are triggered. While we may still remember the event that happens, we are not physically, mentally or emotionally upset by it.
What is perhaps most interesting about EMDR is that it appears to be very similar to what occurs naturally during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. For this reason, EMDR can be considered a physiologically based therapy that helps individuals deal with distressing events in a new and less disturbing way.
What is EMDR Session a Like?
EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that incorporates eight phases of treatment. How long it takes an individual to experience the benefits of this therapy depends on their personal history.
Treatment typically targets three different areas: memories, present disturbances and future actions. The goal of this treatment is to process information and experiences differently. Each session aims to leave the patient with regulated emotions, understanding and fresh perspectives that will ultimately lead to healthy and useful future behaviourssinteractions.
How Long Does it Take for EMDR to Work?
It is often helpful for therapists to have one or two sessions to fully understand the nature of the presenting issue and to determine if EMDR therapy will be an appropriate treatment. During these sessions, the therapist will answer any questions you have about EMDR. Once the therapist and the individual agree EMDR is the right way to go, the actual process will begin.
Sessions typically last between 50 and 90 minutes. How many sessions required will be based on the nature of the issue, personal circumstances and the degree to the trauma. EMDR may be used within a standard ‘talking therapy’, as adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring EMDR treatment, please contact me, and I can put you in touch with a qualified therapist. I often find that couples who come to work with me benefit significantly from individual sessions of EMDR if they are finding themselves overwhelmed by trauma that they have experienced individually.