how does EMDR work
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Trauma can profoundly impact every aspect of your life, making your relationships and responsibilities more difficult. Fortunately, therapy can help you process and overcome your traumatic experiences. For instance, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a unique psychotherapeutic approach that has changed the lives of countless trauma survivors. This post will explore what EMDR does and why it can be so effective for addressing trauma.

What Happens During EMDR?

A psychologist named Dr. Francine Shapiro developed EMDR in the 1980s after noticing her eye movements seemed to decrease the negative emotion associated with her distressing memories. She discovered that trauma survivors may struggle to process what happened to them, leaving them stuck in the past.

In an EMDR therapy session, your therapist will guide you to reflect on distressing or triggering events. As you explore these memories, the therapist will direct you to execute specific eye movements. Additionally, some sessions might incorporate auditory cues or tactile stimuli like hand-tapping to enhance the process.

The side-to-side eye movements used in EMDR are reminiscent of the eye movements observed during REM sleep, a period when your brain actively processes recent experiences. Engaging in this intentional eye movement pattern while conscious enables a similar heightened processing capacity.

Following each sequence of eye movements, your therapist will pause and inquire about any thoughts or emotions that emerged during that interval. Over a series of EMDR sessions, this therapeutic technique aims to diminish the emotional intensity linked to distressing thoughts or memories.

Benefits of EMDR for Trauma Survivors

EMDR therapy has proven to be effective, with fewer risks and side effects than prescription antidepressants and anxiety medications. Consider these advantages.

  1. Directly addresses traumatic memories: Unlike some therapies that focus on coping mechanisms, EMDR directly targets the root cause of distress – the traumatic memory itself.
  2. Accelerated healing: Many clients find EMDR allows them to progress faster than with traditional talk therapy.
  3. Improved self-perception: As you reprocess traumatic memories, you may have better self-esteem and a more positive outlook on life.

What Makes EMDR So Effective?

Recalling painful incidents can be more manageable when you have something to distract your attention. Through a series of EMDR sessions, you will lessen profound emotional reactions triggered by memories or thoughts of your trauma.

  • Bilateral stimulation: The hallmark of EMDR, bilateral stimulation through eye movements, activates both hemispheres of the brain to facilitate the reprocessing of “frozen” traumatic memories.
  • Adaptive information processing model: EMDR operates on the principles of neuroplasticity. By nudging the brain’s natural healing processes with bilateral stimulation, EMDR helps the brain process traumatic memories in a healthier way.
  • Comprehensive approach: EMDR doesn’t stop at reprocessing memories. It also helps you incorporate positive beliefs and coping mechanisms, ensuring you can move forward in their healing journey.

Understanding the Power of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

At Hope by the Sea, we believe in using evidence-based therapies to offer our clients the best chances of recovery. Trauma can cast a long shadow, but with the help of innovative therapies like EMDR, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are struggling with the aftermath of trauma, consider the potential of EMDR as a path to healing and wholeness.

We have developed our comprehensive treatment tracks for men, women, young adults, families, Christians and military veterans to help people from all walks of life improve their mental and behavioral health. If you’re ready to turn your life around, make your confidential call today.