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What Problems Can EMDR Treat?

What Is EMDR?

Instead of relying on talk therapy or medications, EMDR uses a person’s rhythmic eye movements. It may sound a little like a science experiment, but it really is effective.

To put it simply, the principle behind EMDR is that there are certain eye movements that reduce intense or negative emotions. EMDR therapy follows an eight phase process.

Phases of EMDR:

1. History and treatment planning: This phase focuses on the history of the client and why they are coming to therapy. During this phase, a treatment plan is decided on to get the most out of EMDR.

2. Preparation: Phase 2 involves talking out the problem and an overview of the treatment plan. This is often the phase where a therapist will also teach self-control techniques such as breathing exercises to help reduce negative emotions when they happen.

3. Assessment: This is the phase where a client can expect to discuss the target memory that is causing them the most distress.

4-7. Desensitization: This is the phase where a therapist will guide the client through sets of eye movements while focusing on the negative memory or experience. These phases focus on reprocessing the painful memory or emotions so they no longer have control.

8. This will include more stress reduction techniques as well as an evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.

What Does EMDR Treat?

EMDR has the potential to treat a variety of mental health problems. However, it is most effective in helping to treat people who are dealing with trauma or PTSD.

Most people associate PTSD/trauma with those who went through horrific events such as war or sexual abuse. In reality, there is much more in life that can cause trauma or PTSD. A person can also experience trauma or PTSD if they:

  • Were in a car accident

  • Witnessed a crime

  • Survived physical or emotional abuse

  • Lived through natural disasters

While that is not an exhaustive list, it really does show that there are a variety of events that can be traumatic for people.

In addition to treating PTSD, EMDR can be effective for helping people with anxiety or depression.

How Does It Help?

When someone has gone through a traumatic event, it is common to try and avoid the memory of it. But, what this does is actually worsen the symptoms of PTSD you may be going through. Not processing trauma, although it seems like a good idea to avoid it, can be really damaging on a person’s mental health. People may experience symptoms from PTSD such as:

  • Nightmares

  • Flashbacks

  • Panic attacks

  • Avoiding events or situations that are similar or reminiscent of the traumatic event

  • Changes in mood or behaviors

  • Loss of appetite

EMDR gives people the chance to recall the painful memory in a safe, controlled environment. Through the eye movement exercises, the memory is typically less distressing because attention is being taken away from the memory. This gives clients the opportunity to process the memory without inducing a strong emotional response.

Over time, through continued EMDR sessions, the impact of the memory will lessen.

In life, there many events and situations that can cause a person to feel traumatized. Trying to live your life while dealing with unprocessed traumatic is a pain no one should have to feel.

We are here to support you through this time. If you want to learn more about EMDR and how it could help you, contact our office through our website.



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