EMDR ( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a type of psychotherapy used to reduce distress associated with traumatic memories and experiences. This form of therapy uses left-right (bilateral) stimulation to help people recover from trauma. It’s thought that by using these eye movements and focusing on the traumatic thought, the memories emotional impact is reduced. EMDR was developed in the 1980s by psychologist Francine Shapiro to treat PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This approach is based on theories from several other psychotherapies, which also includes CBT ( Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
“Unlike other forms of therapy that focus on changing the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors resulting from distressing experiences, EMDR therapy focuses directly on the specific memory to change the way it is stored in the brain.”
EMDR Therapy Techniques
EMDR therapy is done by trained professionals, usually once or twice a week for six to 12 sessions. EMDR uses 8 phases of treatment that focus on past, present, and future. Clients learn skills that help them to cope with past and future stress, lessening trauma and negative emotional responses.
Here are the phases of EMDR therapy:
Phase-1 History taking
Phase-6 Body scan
Although EMDR was originally designed to treat PTSD, it is now used to treat many mental health conditions such as:
EMDR has many benefits that extend beyond PTSD. Some of the benefits include, changing negative thinking, decreases chronic pain, improves self esteem, requires minimal talking, yields fast results. Researchers have found that EMDR has been proven effective in treating many mental health conditions. Seeking EMDR therapy for mental health can help in reducing stress, depression, anxiety, and improve one’s quality of life. Reach out to your healthcare provider if you feel EMDR therapy is right for you, they will connect you with a trained EMDR specialist who can deliver the therapies.