Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR is a treatment method used in psychotherapy to help patients who have experienced traumatic life events. For patients suffering from PTSD and repressed memories, EMDR can be an effective way to assist them in moving past this blockage and allowing them to recover from the severe emotional pain. EMDR is a clinically proven method that can treat single and multiple trauma patients.
How EMDR Works
The first stage of EMDR consists of the therapist’s assessment of the client’s history. A therapist must know about their client’s past in order to properly assist with EMDR therapy. Uncovering past childhood traumas, repressed memories, and other emotional distress can be utilized in the formation of a treatment plan.
This phase of EMDR therapy ensures that the client understands and has the ability to practice stress-relieving techniques so that the patient can access these techniques during an EMDR session. Maintaining a balance between accessing traumatic memories and relieving stress is crucial for this process.
In the assessing stage 3, the patient must focus on an image or picture of the event. Secondly, the patient identifies a negative belief, regardless if the belief is true or not. Thirdly, the patient chooses a positive belief to counteract the negative one. Eye movements, taps, tones, and feelings are employed during these phases in order to bring the client closer to the positive belief and therefore the closure stage.
The closure stage’s goal is to leave the patient feeling more positive and physically and emotionally better than before the session began. The therapist will then instruct and guide the patient in using a journal to log thoughts, feelings, and any problems or experiences in between visits to the office. The journal logging also allows for a patient to have control and learn techniques on handling stressors and emotions.
This finals stage begins at the start of the following meeting between patient and therapist. The patient will inform the therapist of any progress or problems experienced since the previous session.
EMDR has proven to be a successful treatment method for patients who have had mental and emotional trauma. Multiple sessions of EMDR can be beneficial in resolving PTSD in patients. Studies have shown that in about 84-90% of single trauma patients who underwent EMDR therapy had their PTSD resolved in about 3 sessions. EMDR works to take the negative belief and transform it into the positive belief throughout the session. The American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and even the Department of Defense support this type of therapy. EMDR therapy is utilized in thousands of clinics across the United States.