What is EMDR and how does it work? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a psychotherapy treatment to help individuals with mental health disorders. Read below to find out the specifics of EMDR and how it works.
What is EMDR and How Does it Work?
What does EMDR Treat?
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that was originally aimed at helping war veterans with Acute and Chronic Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Over the years through various studies EMDR has been found affective in treating various other mental health disorders and issues like Anxiety, Phobias, Panic attacks, Depression, Bipolar disorders, Eating Disorders, Grief and Loss, pain, performance anxiety, sleep disturbance, PTSD from war and sexual assault/abuse, violence and abuse. There are studies also demonstrating its effectiveness in the treatment of Body dysmorphia, Personality Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, Somatoform disorders.
One doesn’t need to be diagnosed with a major mental disorder to be able to use EMDR therapy. Often people can come in for therapy with just simple negative beliefs about themselves or the world in general. These negative beliefs might not have been a result of some gregarious, abhorrent events in their lives. The EMDR therapist can use this therapy effectively to just clear those. Children can have fears and anxiety about day to day issues that might become a barrier in their functioning positively. For example, a child might be bullied at school, struggling with self-esteem, might be scared of tests, or just simply worried that they will not be successful in life. EMDR therapist can easily, in a matter of few sessions, help clear up these issues without any medication.
Further on, an adult might have performance anxiety at work, overwhelmed with life in general, unable to sleep, lacking confidence, sometimes having agoraphobia or phobia about travelling by plane etc. These are some other issues that can be dealt with very successfully with the help of EMDR.
-Dedicated to Francine Shapiro the Originator of EMDR Who Died 06/19/2019-
How EMDR Works
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing is an integrative form of therapy based on Adaptive Memory Processing. When a person goes through something traumatic in their lives, they are unable to function optimally as there appears to be some changes or imbalances in their nervous system caused by the neurotransmitters, adrenaline etc.
Due to this, the information that was received by the brain at the time of the event does not get processed effectively and as such continues to cause disturbance. This disturbance is displayed repeatedly in a person’s life either in the form of flashbacks or nightmares, hypersensitivity and hyper alertness. These disturbed memory links further on are also often triggered in various other forms by external stimuli like conflicts in relationships, fears, phobias, unexplained depression, eating disorders, addiction to substances, anxiety and so forth.
In EMDR therapy the therapist will help people link triggers to those disturbed memories and through processing desensitizes them. The main focus in EMDR is on the body, as the body is the seat of emotions, along with negative beliefs, images, and traumatic events.
The processing is a mindful process of allowing emotions that were suppressed for the longest time . In EMDR clients are thus deconditioned to triggers while adaptation of helpful information takes place. Further on, an awareness of maladaptive behaviors happens and clients learn skills to strengthen adaptive, effective and healthy behaviors.
Hopefully, you now understand what is EMDR and how does it work. This is a method that helps individuals with mental health disorders. If you are unsure if this method is right for you, consult with a trained and licensed professional. If interested, Serene Self can provide more information about EMDR therapy.