How does EMDR therapy work?
Ever heard of EMDR? Are you wondering how EMDR works?
EMDR is the superhero of therapies, swooping in to help those grappling with trauma. But how does it work?
You see, our brains are a bit like computers – they store memories, good and bad. Trauma can make some memories feel stuck on repeat.
That’s where EMDR steps in. Imagine having a tool that could gently guide these distressing memories out from their hiding places into the light.
In this article, we’ll explore what happens during an EMDR session and who stands to benefit most from this therapy approach.
Ready to delve deeper?
Understanding EMDR Therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR therapy, is a unique approach to psychological healing. It was developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s after she noticed her own stress levels decreasing when her eyes moved back and forth rapidly.
This observation led to an exploration of how eye movements could be used therapeutically for those dealing with traumatic experiences. Over time, it has become a widely accepted form of therapy with organisations such as the World Health Organisation acknowledging its efficacy.
The crux of EMDR lies in its ability to help individuals process distressing memories more effectively. Unlike other forms of psychotherapy that focus on changing emotions, behaviours or thoughts resulting from distressing experiences, EMDR seeks to change how the memory itself is stored inside the brain – making it less potent and harmful.
The Origins Of EMDR: A Groundbreaking Discovery
Dr Shapiro’s discovery wasn’t planned but came about through personal experimentation. She found rapid eye movement decreased negative emotions tied up with her own troubling thoughts. Learn more about Dr Shapiro’s discovery here.
A Unique Approach To Trauma Treatment
Rather than delving deeply into past events like some therapies do, or ignoring them altogether like others might suggest you should try doing – EMDR stands alone because it acknowledges trauma without forcing you to dwell upon each detail. This makes treatment less confronting while still acknowledging painful past events which need addressing. More details on this unique approach can be found here.
The EMDR Process
EMDR is an eight-phase treatment, which includes having you recall distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input such as side-to-side eye movements. During this intervention, you “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution.
A Therapy Backed By Evidence
Over 25 controlled studies have been conducted, revealing some fascinating findings.
Who Can Benefit from EMDR?
The benefits of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy are far-reaching, but it can be particularly impactful for certain groups. Here we’ll delve into some specifics.
Victims of Violent Crimes
Violent crimes leave deep psychological scars that can take years to heal. For victims struggling with recurring nightmares or feelings of helplessness, EMDR therapy offers a lifeline. By helping individuals process their trauma in a safe environment, EMDR can significantly reduce symptoms like flashbacks and panic attacks.
Survivors of Accidents or Animal Attacks
Sudden accidents or animal attacks often result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Survivors might find themselves replaying the incident over and over again, unable to break free from these intrusive thoughts. With its unique approach towards reprocessing traumatic memories, EMDR has been found effective at lessening the grip such events hold on survivors’ lives.
Overcoming Domestic and Sexual Abuse with EMDR
No form of abuse should ever be minimized – whether physical violence at home or sexual assault – each leaves profound mental wounds alongside any physical ones. As per statistics provided by Openforwards, one out of every five women aged 16-59 will experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetime. In such instances where traditional talk therapies may be difficult for people due to deeply entrenched shame or guilt associated with the event(s), therapists have found EMDR to be a game-changer. It enables survivors to reframe their experiences, promoting healing and growth.
EMDR is not limited to these groups alone; it can help anyone suffering from the lingering effects of trauma. Do not see seeking assistance as a demonstration of frailty, but rather an indication of power. So if you’re struggling with unresolved traumatic memories, why wait? Book your consultation at Openforwards today.
The Role of Memory in Trauma and EMDR
Memories, especially those associated with trauma, play a crucial role in our lives. Memories can affect the way we interpret our environment and form how we act to future occurrences. But what happens when these memories become too overwhelming? That’s where Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) comes into play.
Traumatic memories are stored differently than regular ones. They’re often fragmented, disconnected from time or place, making them feel fresh each time they resurface (Openforwards). This fragmentation is what makes traumatic experiences so challenging to move past.
Memory Processing During EMDR
In an EMDR session, therapists guide clients through recalling their traumatic experience while using bilateral stimulation—usually rapid eye movements—to activate both sides of the brain simultaneously. This process helps shift the memory from being isolated within your mind’s emotional centres to more cognitive areas.
But it isn’t just about moving things around in your brain; it’s also about changing how you relate to that memory emotionally. As part of this therapy approach at Openforwards, you’ll be asked questions designed not only to stimulate recall but also to encourage new perspectives on old wounds.
Rewiring Memories With Bilateral Stimulation
This type of rewiring allows for a less intense emotional response when remembering traumas – imagine turning down the volume knob on fear or distress signals linked with specific memories. Over time, these changes can help decrease the emotional intensity and distress associated with traumatic memories.
By reshaping how we process our most painful recollections, EMDR enables individuals to reduce their psychological distress significantly. It’s not about forgetting or erasing your past; it’s about learning to live without being haunted by it.
The Process of EMDR Therapy
EMDR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a process that can seem complex but holds transformative potential for individuals struggling with traumatic memories. Let’s delve into this fascinating technique.
Activating Traumatic Memories
To start the EMDR session, therapists help patients bring their traumatic memories from the recesses of long-term memory to short-term memory. It’s not as daunting as it appears – just bringing to the surface what has been tucked away.
This activation step might involve recalling specific details about the event or revisiting feelings associated with it. By bringing these aspects to mind in a safe space, they become less intimidating and more manageable. Learn more here.
The Role of Rapid Eye Movements
Once these memories are activated, therapists use rapid back-and-forth finger movements which patients are asked to track with their eyes while focusing on distressing thoughts. These eye movements mimic those during REM sleep – when our brains naturally work through troubling issues.
Fascinatingly enough, statistics show that around 5 out of 7 people respond positively, experiencing decreased anxiety after engaging in this part of treatment. It may sound peculiar at first glance; who knew tracking fingers could have such an impact? However, research indicates significant benefits.
How EMDR Changes Perception of Trauma
To change the way you perceive traumatic memories. But how does it do this?
The working memory – the area of the brain that stores data for a short time – is fundamental to EMDR therapy’s purpose of altering how traumatic memories are perceived. Think of it as an artist’s sketchpad where initial drafts are drawn before they’re etched into more permanent forms.
In trauma, distressing events get imprinted on this sketchpad like vivid ink stains rather than fleeting pencil lines. These images become emotionally charged snapshots causing feelings such as fear or sadness every time we recall them.
The Role of Rapid Eye Movements
This is where EMDR comes in with its star player: rapid eye movements. During an EMDR session, therapists guide patients’ eyes to move back and forth rapidly while recalling their traumatic experiences.
You might be thinking, “What have my eyeballs got to do with my memories?” Well, these quick movements mimic what happens during REM sleep – our most dream-filled slumber stage when our brains process daily events.
This processing lets us file away less emotional versions of these events into long-term storage. In essence, turning those ink-stained traumas into fainter pencil sketches easier to handle and let go of.
A New Perspective on Old Memories
By stimulating this same process awake through guided eye movement exercises, EMDR helps shift the intensity associated with disturbing memories from ‘vivid colour’ down to ‘greyscale’.
One study found that EMDR not only reduced emotional distress but also increased vividness and clarity of positive memories. So, it’s like having a pair of rose-tinted glasses for your past – highlighting the good while dimming down the bad.
Moving Towards Healing
This shift in perception isn’t just psychological wizardry; it has real-world impacts too. People often report feeling less anxiety or fear related to their traumatic events post-EMDR therapy.
Positive Outcomes of EMDR Therapy
The world of psychology and therapy can often feel overwhelming, but it’s also filled with opportunities for positive change. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy presents a potential avenue of positive alteration in the domain of psychology and psychotherapy.
Emotional Benefits of EMDR
This powerful approach is not just about helping people manage symptoms; it’s about transforming lives. After undergoing EMDR treatment, many individuals report feeling less powerless over their past experiences. They find that they’re able to view traumatic events from a distance, rather than being stuck inside them.
In essence, they move from being victims to survivors – a shift that brings feelings of empowerment and self-worth. These emotional benefits are key aspects behind why so many therapists recommend this type of intervention when working with trauma.
Physical and Mental Health Improvements
Beyond these significant emotional shifts, there are more tangible outcomes as well: reduced anxiety levels and improved sleep patterns among others. Many clients notice a decrease in physical symptoms related to stress or trauma after undergoing EMDR sessions.
But perhaps most notably, clients often experience an increased ability to enjoy life once again. Freed from the grip of paralysing memories or flashbacks, those who have undergone EMDR can engage more fully with family activities or pursue personal interests without fear overshadowing every moment – making each day brighter than before.
|Anxiety Reduction Rate Post-EMDR:||Around 70%|
|Sleep Improvement Post-EMDR:||Approximately 60%|
|Overall Life Enjoyment Increase:||Nearly 80%|
EMDR has deep and diverse impacts, establishing it as a precious asset in the mental health field. If you’re intrigued by this method or have any questions, feel free to contact us at Openforwards. We’re here to assist if ever needed.
Get in Touch for EMDR Consultation
If you’re finding that memories of traumatic events are causing disruption to your life, EMDR therapy could be the answer. This therapeutic approach can offer a way to cope better by changing how your brain processes these challenging memories.
We at Openforwards are experienced professionals who provide this unique form of therapy. Our goal is not only to assist you in understanding what’s happening inside your mind but also to give practical strategies that let you regain control over those disturbing thoughts.
You may ask yourself, “How does it work?” The essence of EMDR lies within its ability to use rapid eye movements similar to those during REM sleep. These movements can stimulate the processing system in our brains, allowing us to reframe distressing experiences into less threatening ones. In fact, research suggests that approximately 70% of individuals show more than half reduction symptoms after 3 sessions.
The Process of EMDR Therapy
To start with an EMDR consultation, we will initially discuss your past experiences – giving an overview of trauma or upsetting events which may have caused emotional turmoil.
In the next step, we build up your resources ensuring you have the strategies in place to help you feel safe. After embedding those skills, we can shift to the reprocessing stage where you remember these distressing incidents as vividly as possible. We guide through specific eye movements designed to trigger information processing mechanisms within the brain leading to a desensitisation event, thereby reducing its impact upon current life circumstances. As strange as this process sounds – it works. Studies indicate that up to 90% of soldiers who underwent treatment showed marked improvement in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms following twelve sessions.
Beyond Just A Session: Your Mental Health Journey
Attending to one’s psychological well-being is a course of action, not an endpoint. We believe in supporting you throughout this process, offering ongoing help even after the sessions have concluded.
But remember, every individual’s experience with EMDR therapy can be different and unique to them. The effectiveness might vary based on personal circumstances and the type of trauma involved. But what remains constant is our commitment towards providing compassionate therapeutic services designed for improving mental well-being.
Let’s get started then, tackling those painful memories that have been causing you trouble.
FAQs in Relation to How Does Emdr Work?
What exactly happens during EMDR?
In EMDR, therapists help you recall traumatic memories while directing your eyes to move back and forth. This process reduces the emotional intensity of these memories.
What is the process of EMDR step by step?
The therapist first gets a detailed history and embeds some self-care and emotional regulation skills. Then, they guide you through recalling distressing events while creating rapid eye movements. Finally, negative thoughts are replaced with positive ones.
What happens to the brain during EMDR?
During EMDR, brain waves shift as distressing memories become less emotionally charged in working memory thanks to bilateral stimulation (eye movement).
What is controversial about EMDR as a treatment?
Critics question if it’s actually eye movements that make this therapy effective or simply exposure and cognitive processing which occur naturally in most therapies.
EMDR works, it’s that simple!
EMDR therapy is a unique approach that reaches into the hidden corners of our minds and brings relief from trauma.
How does EMDR work? It taps into how we store memories and uses rapid eye movements to process distressing experiences. We’ve learned about who benefits most – victims of violent crimes, and survivors of accidents or abuse can find solace through this method.
This is not just theory but practice too; activating traumatic memories during an EMDR session leads to tangible emotional and mental health improvements.
The takeaway? EMDR shifts perceptions around trauma, empowering individuals on their path to healing. So if you’re considering therapies for trauma recovery… don’t overlook the power of EMDR!