EMDR Therapy is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This treatment is designed to help people process disturbing memories, so that they can move on from the trauma and feel more comfortable in their daily lives.
Its success is based on sound psychotherapy principles, including the adaptive information processing model. This model suggests that traumatic memories make changes in the brain that prevent them from being processed correctly. It also suggests that PTSD symptoms are linked to these changes, and can be treated with EMDR therapy.
In EMDR, patients focus on a distressing memory while engaging in rapid eye movements. This helps the brain to process information properly and integrate it into the person’s story.
Dozens of research studies have shown that EMDR is effective at helping people deal with traumatic memories and their related symptoms. EMDR is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for PTSD, and it has been found to be helpful in other mental health conditions such as specific phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety and chronic pain.
Phase 1: History-Taking Sessions
In the first phase of Neurofeedback Therapy, your therapist will talk to you about EMDR and assess whether it is an appropriate treatment for you. They will ask questions about the nature and intensity of your symptoms, as well as the underlying causes of the problems you are experiencing. They will also take notes on your feelings and thoughts about the memories you’re focusing on during this phase of therapy.
Your therapist will then explain the theory behind EMDR and let you know what to expect from the sessions ahead. They will also teach you some self-care techniques to help you deal with any emotions that you may experience during or after EMDR sessions.
The next stage of EMDR therapy involves targeting a traumatic event. Your therapist will guide you to focus on a picture or scene from the event, along with your negative thoughts and bodily sensations that are triggered by the image. They will then ask you to move your eyes rapidly back and forth, left to right, in a manner similar to REM sleep.
These eye movements are designed to desensitize you to the traumatic memory, so that it feels less intense and intrusive in your mind. This technique also makes it easier to change your interpretations of the traumatic event.
It also enables you to replace negative thoughts and beliefs with positive ones. This allows you to focus on new possibilities and experiences that are more meaningful to you.
Phase 2: Focusing on a Distressing Memory
Your therapist will have you focus on a traumatic memory while engaging in EMDR eye movements and other bilateral stimulation (BLS) techniques. You will then report to your therapist any new thoughts or feelings that arise. These are important to note because they can be used as a basis for the next phase of EMDR therapy.
After your therapist has completed the process of reprocessing the traumatic memory, they will ask you to imagine what you would have done had you not been in the situation. They will then have you perform rapid eye movements, or taps on your body, as you imagine that you are the victim of the traumatic event.