What is EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) is a very powerful form of psychotherapy.
Since its inception in the 1980s, it has been a widely used treatment to relieve psychological turmoil and has helped 2 MILLION PLUS people of all ages around the world. Over 100,000 clinicians are trained in it and practice it worldwide. It is one of the most empirically valid and successful treatments for people who suffer from PTSD, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, PHOBIAS, PANIC ATTACK, TRAUMA, GRIEF & OTHER INTENSE EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS. Given that these conditions are very difficult and time-consuming to treat, EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief. It has been widely researched as effective for PTSD and trauma with up to 100% effectiveness for single trauma and 77% for those with multiple trauma.
When people are experiencing these conditions the only thing they seek is relief from extreme pain and peace with their past, and EMDR brings that possibility to fruition almost immediately than most traditional forms of talk therapy.
What conditions does EMDR treat?
EMDR was developed as a treatment for traumatic memories and research has demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of PTSD. Those suffering from major traumas such as sexual or physical assault, combat experiences, accidents, or the sudden death of a loved one can be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if certain symptoms exist. These include intrusive thoughts of the event; nightmares or flashbacks; avoidance of reminders of the incident and increased arousal, which can include problems such as sleep difficulties; angry outbursts; being easily startled or having difficulty concentrating.
Research has also indicated that medically unexplained physical symptoms, including fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and pain can also go along with this disorder. Anyone suffering from PTSD can benefit from EMDR therapy.
However, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in the treatment of the following conditions:
Sexual, Physical and/or Verbal abuse
Body dysmorphic disorders
What are the advantages of EMDR therapy?
Research studies show that EMDR is very effective in helping people process emotionally painful and traumatic experiences. When used in conjunction with other therapy modalities, EMDR helps move the client quickly from emotional distress to peaceful resolution of the issues or events involved. Studies consistently show that treatment with EMDR results in the elimination of the targeted emotion. The memory remains, but the negative response neutralizes. The short-term benefits of EMDR are simple and straightforward – the possible immediate relief of emotional distress and the elimination of the debilitating effect of unresolved past trauma.
How does EMDR work?
When a person is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. The distressing memory seems to become frozen and or distorted on a neurological level. When a person recalls the distressing memory, they re-experience what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, and this can be quite intense. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, the person tries to avoid thinking about the distressing event to avoid experiencing the distressing feelings.
Some find that the distressing memories come to mind when something reminds them of the distressing event, or sometimes the memories just seem to just pop into mind. The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during EMDR, seems to stimulate the frozen or blocked information processing system.
In the process the distressing memories seem to lose their intensity, so that the memories are less distressing and seem more like 'ordinary' memories. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side. EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt or thought
Frequently asked questions
How Many Session with the Therapist before he/she begins EDMR?
This depends upon the client's ability to "self-soothe" and use a variety of self-control techniques to decrease potential disturbance. The clinician should teach the client these techniques during the preparation phase. The amount of preparation needed will vary from client to client. In the majority of instances the active processing of memories should begin after one or two sessions.
How do I know EDMR will work for me? How do I know I am a candidate for EDMR?
EMDR therapy has been extensively researched as effective for problems based on earlier traumas. In addition, reports from clinicians over the past 25 years have indicated that EMDR can be extremely effective when there are experiential contributors that need to be addressed. Read the book Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Shapiro and see if any of your problems are covered in the cases. Interview your clinician to ask her what experience she has using EMDR with your particular problem.
Do I have to use eye movement? I wear contacts / have eye issues
Is EDMR a one session cure?
How many sessions will it take?
The number of sessions depends upon the specific problem and client history. However, repeated controlled studies have shown that a single trauma can be processed within 3 sessions in 80-90% of the participants. While every disturbing event need not be processed, the amount of therapy will depend upon the complexity of the history. In a controlled study, 80% of multiple civilian trauma victims no longer had PTSD after approximately 6 hours of treatment. A study of combat veterans reported that after 12 sessions 77% no longer had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Is EDMR the same as Hypnosis?
WHAT CAN EMDR DO FOR ME?
More Information on EMDR
For an extensive list of empirically valid and reputable research towards the efficacy of EMDR: