EMDR Therapy Is Great When Paired With Something More
Updated: Jun 9
EMDR therapy is an effective, evidence-based treatment for people who have experienced trauma. It helps you process what happened to you and put it in a new context so that it doesn't keep affecting you. EMDR therapy is unlike other forms of therapy, in that it doesn't require you to talk about past events. Instead, the therapist will ask you to move your eyes from side to side while thinking about what happened. This will help your brain process the event so that it no longer feels overwhelming or scary. While there are some concerns about how safe EMDR is and whether it provides long-term benefits, research shows that most people who use this type of therapy find relief from their symptoms after just a few sessions.
EMDR Stands For Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that uses eye movements and other forms of stimulation to reduce the distress you feel when recalling traumatic memories.
It was originally developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987, who discovered EMDR when she noticed that her eyes felt tired after looking at an upsetting image on television. She then noticed that this tiredness would disappear if she looked back at the same picture again, or another one with a different emotional charge.
Over time, she found that these eye movements had a therapeutic effect on people suffering from trauma who were reliving their experiences inside their minds without being able to move away from them.
EMDR Therapy Is A Type Of Psychotherapy
It can be used with any individual who has experienced a traumatic event and is struggling as a result. There are four main types of EMDR therapy:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – This form of therapy uses eye movements to help individuals process the trauma they've experienced, which in turn reduces their symptoms and improves their mental health.
Adaptive Information Processing – This form of EMDR therapy helps people learn how to process information so that they can make better decisions in life.
Eye Movement Integration - Eye movement integration focuses on improving vision skills by using eye movements during specific exercises.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy combines elements from traditional CBT with elements from EMDR to provide additional treatment options for people struggling with PTSD or other anxiety disorders.
The Creator Of EMDR, Francine Shapiro
Discovered that EMDR could be used to treat trauma by accident. She was treating a woman who had suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of being raped and tortured in her youth. Shapiro asked the woman to recount the story of her trauma, but she couldn't do it without breaking down into tears and becoming extremely agitated.
So instead, Shapiro asked her to follow her finger with her eyes. The woman's mood suddenly shifted from distress to calmness and relaxation—the first stage of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
In EMDR sessions
You can't change what you don't remember. Once these traumatic memories have been identified, it's possible for the client to access them in an organized manner and process them effectively so they no longer cause distress or interfere with everyday life. The therapist helps the patient find a set of memories that are causing distress.
Does It Make Memories Disappear
EMDR does not make the memories you have go away. Rather, it allows you to process them in a different way and become less bothered by them. In fact, some research suggests that after doing EMDR therapy, traumatic memories may even be more accessible in your brain but don't bother you as much anymore!
EMDR therapy can also be used to help with other problems besides PTSD:
Stress, anger management issues and other emotional reactions
While In An EMDR Session
You will be asked to focus on your thoughts and feelings about the event, then to recall the distressing memory and follow with the therapist’s finger using your eyes, while holding in mind the thought or feeling related to that memory. This is called dual attention stimulation.
This technique helps you focus on the memory without becoming overwhelmed by it. It also provides a “grounding” effect which can help keep you present during therapy sessions. For example: If a client is having difficulty remembering something they did earlier in life (e.g., getting into trouble as a child), they might feel like they're unable to remember anything at all because there are so many emotions associated with that incident. The therapist will ask them what was happening near them at that time (e.g., "What did your mom look like?", "What color was her hair?"). Asking these kinds of questions helps ground clients back into reality so they can start thinking through their problems again with less stress or anxiety attached than before starting treatment."
The Idea Behind Dual Attention Stimulation Is
That it prevents you from focusing too intensely on the disturbing material. Once you can access this material without being overwhelmed by it, you will be better able to process it and integrate it into your existing life story in a way that is not as traumatic. For example, when I was working with a client who was abused as a child, we were able to use the dual attention strategy to help her see that she had some control over what happened and how she reacted to those experiences. This allowed her to feel empowered and less powerless than she did before therapy began.
EMDR Therapy Has Been Found
To help reduce symptoms associated with depression and anxiety disorders. The treatment works by "manipulating the brain's information processing system," according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The APA notes that while EMDR therapy is used to treat trauma, it can also be used alongside traditional talk-based therapies such as psychodynamic or cognitive behavioral therapy.
There Are Some Concerns About How Safe EMDR Is
Some people worry that it might be dangerous, as it can involve eye movements and sometimes uses sounds or other stimuli. However, there is no evidence that EMDR therapy is dangerous.
EMDR has been used in the treatment of many different conditions, including PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), phobias, stress and anxiety disorders, pain management and substance abuse problems. It is a form of psychotherapy which involves the patient recalling distressing memories while focusing on the emotions associated with those memories while they simultaneously focus on an external stimulus such as tapping a finger or listening to music.
It should not be used as a substitute for medication and cannot replace medication if you are taking prescription drugs for any mental illness – depression is an example – but it can be used alongside medication in cases where this may be appropriate for your condition or circumstances.
EMDR Works Best When
EMDR is not a standalone therapy. When used alongside traditional talk-based therapies such as psychodynamic or cognitive behavioral therapy EMDR in conjunction with other talk-based therapies such as psychodynamic or cognitive behavioral therapy is the normal practice. There is no research to suggest that EMDR works without the help of another form of traditional talk-based therapy, and this is why it's so important to seek out a therapist who understands both EMDR and more traditional forms of counseling.
EMDR is a useful tool in the treatment of trauma, depression and anxiety because it allows you to process difficult experiences at a pace that’s comfortable for you. The eye movements associated with this kind of treatment may seem strange at first, but they actually have roots in ancient Chinese medicine and are used by many therapists today; they’re thought to clear the mind so that new information can be processed more easily.
EMDR can be effective in treating mental illness as long as it is used alongside of traditional talk therapy which is one of our strengths at Thera-fi, and we also think that it is important to be aware of some of the risks involved with this type of treatment. While there are many studies which show that EMDR has helped people reduce symptoms associated with depression and anxiety disorders, but only when combined with other forms of psychotherapy. It should also be noted that not all people feel comfortable having to intentionally move their eyes back and forth while they are talking about traumatic experiences.