What is EMDR?
EMDR therapy is recognized as an effective form of treatment in numerous practice guidelines worldwide. In the US, this includes organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and Department of Defense. More than twenty randomized studies support the effectiveness of the therapy in the treatment of PTSD. It is also used for depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship issues, etc. More than twenty randomized studies have demonstrated positive effects of the eye movements.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)1 is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. It contains elements of many effective psychotherapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies2.
EMDR psychotherapy is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for current issues and situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health.
During treatment various procedures and protocols are used to address the entire clinical picture. One of the procedural elements is “dual stimulation” using either bilateral eye movements, tones or taps. During the reprocessing phases the client attends momentarily to past memories, present triggers, or anticipated future experiences while simultaneously focusing on a set of external stimulus. During that time, clients generally experience the emergence of insight, changes in memories, or new associations.
To simplify, EMDR helps a person change the way they react to current issues by going back to earlier experiences that might have caused them to develop faulty beliefs and patterns that keep them from living a healthy lifestyle.
If you are interested in this type of therapy, ask your counselor to see if it is the best therapy for your situation.