EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment protocol designed to help people heal from extremely stressful or traumatic experiences. These experiences exist along spectrums of intensity, frequency, and longevity. Our brains are remarkably resilient and adaptive; however, when experiences push the brain beyond its natural resiliency, it adapts by moving us into “survival mode” to get us through. Amazingly, we survive these awful experiences, but we often develop problematic, psychological symptoms or harmful coping strategies as a result. EMDR therapy focuses on these “unprocessed” parts of the traumatic memory and reprocesses them until the problem is resolved and no longer causing significant distress.
WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS DOES EMDR THERAPY TREAT?
Scientific research has established EMDR therapy as effective in the treatment of post-traumatic stress. Additionally, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in the treatment of the following conditions:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Anxiety and Phobias
Sexual, Physical, and/or Psychological abuse
Body dysmorphic disorders
How does EMDR therapy work?
EMDR research suggests that EMDR therapy has a direct effect on the way the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the traumatic event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting or disturbing. EMDR therapy appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.