Everyone experiences hardships in life at some point or another. While not every stressful event has lasting impacts on our lives, sometimes those hardships can lead to long-term trauma. Whether you suffer from PTSD, anxiety, or depression, there are treatment options available to help you attain mental wellness and get your life back on track. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can be a great way to relieve psychological stress and help you live a more positive life.
EMDR therapy is a psychotherapy technique designed to help heal the mental impacts of trauma and relieve people of their emotional distress. EMDR therapy aims to use sensory inputs to help reengage emotional processes that have been interrupted by long-term stress. Repeated studies show that results and healing that once took years to achieve through traditional therapeutic techniques can be accomplished in as little as a few weeks or months by using EMDR therapy.
EMDR treatments consist of eight phases that are designed to accelerate information processing. In the first phase, you will discuss with your therapist the history you would like to address and if EMDR is the right treatment plan for you. The next phase focuses on preparation, during which any of your questions can be addressed and you can develop a trusting relationship with your therapist. Phase 3 begins the assessment of which event in your life needs to be reprocessed (also known as the target event) as well as any images, beliefs, feelings, and sensations that are associated with the event.
After the first three phases, you will enter the reprocessing phases. Phase 4 focuses on desensitization through engaging in side-to-side eye movements, sounds, or taps while focusing on the traumatic event. When you become successfully desensitized to the event, Phase 5, installation, begins. In this phase, your therapist will work with you to help you associate a positive belief with the target event until it feels completely true. Phase 6 is referred to as the body scan stage. You will be asked to hold focus on the target event and the newly associated positive belief while scanning the body from head to toe so that any lingering disturbance from the body is reprocessed.
The last two phases occur to ensure your safety and wellbeing before and after EMDR sessions. Every session of reprocessing ends with the seventh phase, closure, so that you can return to a state of calm in the present moment whether the reprocessing is complete or not. Lastly, Phase 8 is how each new therapy session begins. You will discuss recently processed memories with your therapist to ensure that distress is still low and that the positive cognition is still strong, as well as any goals you have for future sessions.
During an EMDR therapy session, a licensed therapist will have you focus on a specific memory or event that has resulted in your emotional trauma. You will then undergo bilateral stimulation, which means you will keep your head still and use only your eyes to track light as it moves back and forth across your field of vision. After the bilateral stimulation, your therapist will ask you to talk about the negative emotions you associate with your traumatic memory. Over time, the goal is that you will eventually reprocess and become desensitized to the memory.
There are a number of ways EMDR therapy can help heal trauma and help you live a more positive life. Studies have shown that EMDR can be effective in as few as 3-12 sessions. While EMDR was initially developed to treat PTSD, it is now used to treat a variety of mental health disorders, including:
Over 30 scientific studies have shown that EMDR has positive effects. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world practice EMDR therapy and millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.
To learn more about EMDR therapy and whether or not it is right for you, call KDM Counseling Group in St. Petersburg, FL at 727-437-0980 to speak with a licensed therapist today.
“Deep human connection is the purpose and the result of a meaningful life – and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity, and humanity.” -Melinda Gates