Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a therapeutic protocol helpful in the treatment of mental and emotional trauma. It is being widely praised in the United States and is currently in use by agencies such as the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
What Causes Trauma?
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 suggests 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. Regardless, once trauma occurs, there is a disruption in how the brain processes information.
In a “normal” brain, processing systems digest information and make appropriate connections. They work like an assembly line to pull useful and important information from our memory to store. When nothing unusual occurs, those reactions to the event that are no longer relevant, and any emotions or physical sensations, are forgotten. However, when an individual experiences a traumatic event, this system is disrupted and the negative memories and emotions, as well as physical sensations and beliefs, are not forgotten and become part of our memory. The machine shorts and doesn’t do it’s job correctly. These 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.
Also, techniques used in EMDR, 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 their goals by understanding why they do what they do and how they can manage life and their own behaviors better.
Sounds pretty amazing! But what else can EMDR do? EMDR can be helpful to treat a variety of issues including:
- Panic attacks
- Complicated grief
- Dissociative disorders
- Disturbing memories
- Pain disorders
- Performance anxiety
- Stress reduction
- Sexual and/or Physical abuse
- Body dysmorphic disorders
- Personality Disorders
This is a short list for what EMDR is capable of! As research continues, the options with EMDR’s uses will grow. Additionally, as the applications expand, EMDR will continue to be a celebrated method for treatment in the therapeutic community.
If your past continues to hinder your present, EMDR might be a good option for you. Please call us and let us offer assistance during this difficult period in your life.