What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that helps people reprocess traumatic memories. EMDR uses an eight-phase approach to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological issues, including depression and eating disorders. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy that helps people deal with the effects of traumatic experiences. According to the American Psychological Association, EMDR can be effective for people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The therapy involves having clients recall distressing memories while simultaneously focusing on external stimuli such as sounds, images or hand motions. This may also involve having the client imagine a positive experience while he or she looks at certain objects in order to reduce anxiety.
EMDR therapists will often have you focus on one image or thought at a time. Sometimes they’ll ask you to describe the image or thought in detail. Other times, they’ll simply have you think about it for a few minutes while they make sure that your eyes are moving back and forth across the room at roughly the same speed as your thoughts. In some cases, therapists might also move a light around in front of you as part of their therapy (called “kinetic stimulation”). This technique is called bilateral stimulation. The therapist will guide you through a series of eye movements.
During bilateral stimulation, you follow the EMDR therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth in front of your face. You’ll do this for about 30 minutes at a time, typically three times a week for eight weeks or so. This technique is called bilateral stimulation because it involves moving both eyes together—the left eye moves with the right hand and vice versa. The goal is to slow down the way we see memories, making it easier to process them effectively without becoming overwhelmed by emotions like fear or anger that can block our ability to recall important events from our pasts.
It’s believed that the right side of the brain stores emotional memories and the left side stores logical ones.
We all have emotional memories, whether or not we’re aware of them. Some are more easily accessible than others, but all of us can recall an emotional memory if prompted with a relevant cue (for example, if you see an old photo from your childhood). In EMDR therapy, these memories are accessed by focusing on one’s problem and then following the therapist’s finger as they move it back and forth on each side of the client’s forehead. This process facilitates greater integration between the brain hemispheres; it helps your right hemisphere access more logical information about what happened to you in a distressing situation, while also allowing your left hemisphere to process that information more fully.
It’s believed that this integration causes changes in how you think about yourself and how others perceive you—which could be why many people report feeling lighter after their sessions.
EMDR usually takes 8-10 sessions
EMDR therapy is a short-term approach that takes eight to ten sessions. It’s been found to be effective in helping people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR can help those with traumatic memories get through difficult experiences, such as car accidents and sexual assault.
Contact an EMDR Therapist today
It’s an effective treatment for many people who suffer from PTSD and other mental health issues, but it can be challenging for others. Contact SOMA Therapy today!