What the heck is it and how can it help me?
What is EMDR therapy?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a non-invasive, evidence-based type of therapy that uses sensory input to help people deal with, recover from, and overcome trauma and emotional distress.
It does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. Instead, it allows the brain to resume its natural healing process rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue.
EMDR Therapy uses bilateral (side to side) stimulation through eye movements, tapping, sound, or other senses while you recall distressing or triggering experiences in small segments. It mimics the eye movements that occur during the REM sleep cycle.
What are the benefits of EMDR Therapy?
Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When conscious or unconscious distress occurs from a disturbing event, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create an overwhelming feeling of being back in that moment or result in us bringing our past “emotional baggage” into our present day lives. EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, allowing normal healing to resume. After successfully completing EMDR therapy, the experiences are still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze responses from the original events are resolved.
EMDR therapy can help to break patterns of negative thought processes, alleviate chronic discomfort, enhance self-esteem, improve mood, decrease panic and anxiety, and improve overall emotional regulation.
What will happen in an EMDR therapy session?
After a few sessions spent thoroughly conversing with your therapist preparing, you will start your EMDR session by immediately being asked a short series of specific questions about a particular disturbing memory. Then, repeated sets of bilateral stimulation will be used throughout the majority of the session, during which time you will access memories, thoughts, and feelings about the memory and other associated distressing events. Over time, the painful parts of the past tend to lose intensity and become neutralized.
During EMDR treatment, you will remain in control, fully alert, and awake. This is not a form of hypnosis, and you can stop the process at any time. Throughout the session, your therapist will be there to facilitate the treatment while supporting your own self-healing and intervening as little as possible.
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