EMDR therapy was initially designed to treat the symptoms of PTSD, adjustment disorders, and acute stress disorders. However, proponents of EMDR therapy claim that it is also useful in the treatment of different psychological problems and disorders that include the components of anxiety, depression, and maladjustment.
In EMDR, EM represents the notion of eye movements; however, there are EMDR therapists that use other techniques aside from EM. Sometimes, the therapist will tap their fingers or create sounds while the patient is re-experiencing the traumatic event. While EMDR uses the same techniques in treating trauma and stress like other forms of treatment, the difference is the eye movement component which is sometimes replaced by finger tapping.
How does EMDR therapy work?
People usually experience some form of trauma in their life. With the passing of time, they overcome the feelings of unease, worry, and stress. However, patients with post-traumatic stress disorder experience prolonged side effects like nightmares, flashbacks, and fear. They intentionally avoid places that remind them of the traumatic event. They lose interest in normal activities and usually turn to substance abuse to self-medicate.
During the EMDR therapy sessions, the therapist treats PTSD through eye movement sensitization and reprocessing therapy. According to Francine Shapiro who developed EMDR in 1987, the brain is taught to cope properly with an upsetting event. EMDR is based on the supposition that the brain’s coping mechanism can be overwhelmed by trauma so that memories associated with the traumatic experience are improperly stored.
When a patient suffering from PTSD has co-occurring addiction to alcohol or drugs, therapists treat the trauma that is contributing to substance abuse through EMDR in combination with other behavioural therapies and medications. EMDR therapy will allow patients to reprocess their traumatic memories and learn how to properly cope with them and disassociate any unimportant memories.
During the therapy session, the therapist will ask the patient to think of a specific distressing memory while focusing on the therapist’s moving hand. Therapists direct the patient’s eye movement to focus on an external stimulus while he is internally focusing on a distressing memory. Other therapists use auditory stimuli instead of eye movement.
After the therapy sessions, some patients have expressed a feeling of relief. They have stopped from experiencing flashbacks from triggers. They can still recall the memories but with less stress and anxiety. They learn to overcome the past trauma and how to handle life and prepare for the future.
The effectiveness of EMDR therapy depends on the severity of the PTSD symptoms and the patient’s history of trauma. According to a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, at least 80% to 90% of patients recover from PTSD after 4 to 7 sessions.
If you have trauma-related issues that you cannot cope with, you are invited to book an appointment through EMDR London website to manage your stress and anxiety. The goal of the treatment is to eliminate the subjective discomfort from unprocessed memories of a traumatic event or experience. EMDR therapy will get to the deep roots of your trauma.