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  • Why EMDR is Effective in Treating Trauma

    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a therapeutic protocol used in the treatment of mental and emotional trauma. It has been widely praised in the United States and is currently used by agencies such as the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

    Those suffering from PTSD caused by major traumas such as sexual or physical assault, combat experiences, accidents or the sudden death of a loved can benefit from EMDR therapy. Sessions work to alleviate PTSD symptoms like flashbacks and nightmares, angry outbursts, difficulties sleeping and concentrating, and feelings of depression and isolation.

    Recent research has pointed to the fact that PTSD can also result from less dramatic life events, such as hurtful experiences during childhood. In some cases, these can cause even more symptoms of PTSD than major traumas like combat or terrorist attacks.

    In either case, once trauma has been experienced, there is a disruption in how the brain processes information. In a “normal” brain that has not experienced a shocking event, processing systems digest information about what has been experienced and make appropriate connections. Those reactions to the event that are no longer useful, any emotions or physical sensations, are released.

    However, when an individual experiences a traumatic event, this processing system is disrupted and the negative memories and emotions, as well as physical sensations and beliefs, are stored in the brain. These stored traumatic interpretations mingle with current events to color them negatively. In short, the past becomes the present.

    The Benefit of EMDR Therapy

    EMDR is an effective protocol to treat these unprocessed past memories that are poisoning the present. EMDR is able to remove the anxiety, fear and sadness that cause individuals to avoid or overreact to situations.

    EMDR techniques allow individuals to identify early memories that are the root of their problems and change their emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations surrounding them. These same techniques can also help people achieve desired goals by understanding why they do what they do and how they can manage life and their own behaviors better.

    EMDR is used to treat a variety of issues including:

    • Panic attacks
    • Complicated grief
    • Dissociative disorders
    • Disturbing memories
    • Phobias
    • Pain disorders
    • Performance anxiety
    • Stress reduction
    • Addictions
    • Sexual and/or Physical abuse
    • Body dysmorphic disorders
    • Personality Disorders

    If you or a loved one suffer from any of the above and believe you may benefit from EMDR and a trained therapist can help, please contact me. I would be happy to discuss how I and this particular therapy approach might help.

    1. […] With this approach to therapy, your trauma therapist is essentially guiding you to heal yourself. By reprocessing those traumatic memories, your brain can reduce your reaction to them. And, as a result, you can reduce your reaction to your […]

    2. […] Accessibility is an incredibly important consideration when it comes to mental health care since mental health care should be accessible to everyone. However, there are many barriers that get in the way of finding a great therapist in your area. In many rural communities, there aren’t a great number of therapists available to choose from. Especially if you’re looking for a therapist that specializes in a specific mental health concern or offers a specific form of therapy, such as EMDR therapy for trauma. […]

    3. […] After each set, the EMDR therapist will prompt the individual to notice any thoughts or feelings that arise. Then they will apply another set of bilateral stimulation, repeating the process until the memory has been fully processed.  While EMDR therapy does not eradicate a memory, many individuals report feeling calmer after a session. Through eye movement desensitization and reprocessing the memory lost its powerful emotional charge …. […]