Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

You might be considering Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)…

because other methods haven’t been effective in helping you recover from the trauma you’ve experienced. Despite discussing the trauma extensively, its impact persists. Trauma often manifests as enduring symptoms, frequently felt within our bodies. Although these effects may be challenging to pinpoint, their influence is evident in our daily lives.

Whether it’s anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, or other persistent challenges, letting go of these experiences can be difficult. These symptoms may arise suddenly, be intense, ongoing, or even new. The positive news is that EMDR therapy offers a pathway to find peace.

If you’re interested but wish to learn more about EMDR treatment, we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions below to assist you in determining if it’s the right choice for you.

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, utilizes bilateral eye movement & other forms of bilateral stimulation, such as tapping or sound, to aid in the reprocessing of traumatic memories. Frequently, trauma lingers in the form of memories that resist effective processing. This is not a personal shortcoming but a survival mechanism. Unprocessed traumatic memories forms thoughts, beliefs, and even physical sensations related to the traumatic event. When triggered, these components resurface, leading to a re-experiencing of the trauma.

While other therapeutic approaches concentrate on the thoughts and emotions stemming from trauma, EMDR treatment distinguishes itself by targeting the memory or memories directly and challenging the negative beliefs associated with them. Its objective is to actively alter the way our brain stores traumatic memories, subsequently alleviating the distressing symptoms linked to those memories. In essence, EMDR diminishes the influence that traumatic memories exert, empowering individuals to move forward.

What does an EMDR Therapy session look like?

EMDR sessions typically run for 50-60 minutes. The EMDR process is divided into eight phases, each aiming to adequately prepare individuals for the processing of traumatic memories.

In the initial phase, known as history taking, we delve into understanding you, your reasons for seeking EMDR therapy, and discuss the presenting problems and memories you wish to address.

Following this, the preparation phase unfolds. Here, we discuss the therapeutic process, detailing how treatment will unfold. You engage in bilateral stimulation exercises to familiarize yourself with the process, mirroring REM sleep to aid memory processing and unlock new insights. Additionally, you learn calming techniques to help us close out sessions that are incomplete when we do not finish memories. Sometimes there is a lot of information in a memory network, leading to us not fully completing the memory in one session.

Once adequately prepared to delve into the memory network, we move on to identifying the issue and target memories. This involves creating a trauma timeline, pinpointing associated emotions, physical sensations, intrusive thoughts, negative beliefs, & images.

The subsequent phase involves memory reprocessing, utilizing bilateral stimulation to observe emerging thoughts between sets. You focus on a specific aspect of the disturbing event, allowing your mind to explore how the disturbance is stored in your body and mind. Dual stimulation continues until the thoughts and beliefs about yourself become less distressing and more positive, akin to the gradual healing of a physical cut over time.

Throughout EMDR sessions, clients may encounter vivid images, sensations, and emotions linked to their distressing memories. However, most report a significant reduction in the intensity of the disturbance.

As we progress through the memory, we instill a positive belief, conduct a body scan, and conclude the memory when we approach the end of a memory network.

Between sessions, continuous re-evaluation occurs to address any thoughts or feelings that may arise. If new thoughts surface, we continue to work on processing those memories before moving on to the next one on your timeline

Can EMDR Therapy be used for other issues besides trauma?

EMDR therapy has been recognized as a extensively researched and efficacious therapeutic method, proving beneficial not only for post-traumatic stress but also for various mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, diminished work performance, sexual dysfunction, low self-esteem, and more. Through EMDR you can find success in addressing pain disorders, panic attacks, experiences of sexual and physical abuse, body dysmorphic concerns, PTSD, trauma, performance anxiety, stress management, eating disorders, phobias, disturbing memories, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, addictions, complicated grief, and more. 

Is EMDR therapy online as effective as in-person therapy?

EMDR therapy is equally effective whether conducted online or in-person. Our clients even find it more beneficial as they can partake in therapy from the convenience of their homes, within their familiar surroundings, eliminating the need for commuting to an office. EMDR usually relies on the a light bar for bilateral stimulation movements; instead, we utilize a software called bilateralstimulation.io. This software features a moving dot on the screen accompanied by music, mimicking the bilateral stimulation effect. In cases where this approach is less effective, we resort to butterfly taps to foster integration between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Will EMDR work for me?

The success of EMDR therapy is contingent on your body and mind’s capacity to navigate through your thoughts and emotions. In the event that you encounter challenges in this processing, your therapist will guide you in preparing for EMDR therapy.

How many EMDR Therapy sessions will it take to see results?

Determining the exact number of sessions needed for results is challenging, given the unique nature of each individual’s treatment. We will thoroughly explore your experiences and goals. The duration of EMDR therapy can range from six months to a year of weekly sessions, depending on the depth of trauma. However, it is much shorter than regular talk therapy since we are processing information quickly. While significant progress may be observed in just a few sessions, factors such as the type and severity of the problem, the extent of trauma, and life circumstances can influence the required number of sessions. In our practice, clients have the option to use EMDR as their primary treatment or integrate it into regular talk therapy sessions. 

Embarking on your EMDR Therapy journey is the next step…

Trauma and stress may be dominating your life, but with EMDR therapy, we can help you break free from this cycle and start processing your trauma. The initial step involves recognizing the difficulty you’re facing and acknowledging that help is available. Don’t allow trauma to deprive you of a joyful and connected life. Through EMDR, we can collaborate to understand your symptoms and create a plan for moving forward.

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If you are ready to heal your trauma through EMDR Therapy, please give us a call to schedule your therapy appointment to resolve your difficulties: (248) 962-3329.

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