EMDR therapy is a popular topic in psychology today… why?
EMDR is an acronym that’s been showing up nearly everywhere in counseling practices today. Therefore, it’s remarkable because it’s a break from traditional talk therapy. It’s been some time since we’ve seen this kind of philosophical split. The funny thing is, EMDR therapy was first documented over 25 years ago by it’s creator, Francine Shapiro. Because it’s stood the test of time, the therapy has been able to show it’s effectiveness.
“Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do or are able to resist, all move in a positive direction.” ― Francine Shapiro
What is EMDR used for?
Initially, EMDR therapy was used for PTSD studies. At the time (the late ’80’s) PTSD, was a relatively “new” term and a more commonly accepted type of mental trauma. Previously, society would describe someone afflicted with PTSD as being “shell shocked” and there wasn’t much by way of non-stigmatized mental health offerings.
In modern times, any type of traumatic occurrence, grief, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, dissociative disorders, erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety, addictions, phobias, social anxiety, stress reduction and panic attacks, can be treated with EMDR therapy.
Here’s what it’s like in an EMDR therapy session.
EMDR is an eight step process involving the “reprocessing” of the brain using light and guidance by a trained EMDR professional. The very, very short and quick explanation is that you will follow a light in certain patterns by your therapist.
Subsequently throughout the eight sessions, you will work through the painful memory, fear, anxiety, etc. typically with gentle guidance by your EMDR therapist while following patterns made by a light pen.
Above all, EMDR therapy addresses the point that your brain has been overwhelmed by the fear, event, trauma, etc, and that it didn’t have a chance to develop healthy coping systems. Furthermore, by reprocessing, your brain has the chance to see a new light. Ironically by actually using a light as a central component of the therapy.
What kind of results does EMDR have?
I wouldn’t be a professional if I didn’t say that everyone has different results. However, the vast, vast majority of people who go through EMDR therapy are incredibly healed in ways that they had never experienced before with other types of therapies.
Many patients report that they are able, “to ‘process’ the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. This often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long held negative thoughts about the self.” – Trauma Recovery (EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs, “What is EMDR?”)
Any questions about EMDR therapy? Contact me.
Wishing you the day you need to have!
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