Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) represents a relatively new type of therapy that implements nontraditional therapeutic methods. Despite its fairly new status as a form of psychotherapy, EMDR therapy has gained popularity among many therapists, especially when it comes to treating the symptoms generated by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
EMDR does not depend on medications or talk therapy to treat the symptoms that develop because of a traumatic event. Instead, a certified EMDR therapist focuses on a patient’s rapid eye movements to diminish the negative impact of emotionally powered memories that come from a past traumatic incident.
What Should You Expect from EMDR Therapy?
An EMDR treatment appointment can last as long as 90 minutes depending on the type of appointment. The first phase of treatment involves a therapist reviewing your mental health history, which provides the therapist with information that helps develop a treatment program. Phase two teaches you a few fundamental techniques to help you manage emotional distress issues. You might learn deep breathing techniques to slow the rate of your heartbeat.
The third phase called assessment guides you through a process in which you choose a specific negative memory to target during the next four EMDR therapy sessions. You can select a highly painful emotion or physical sensation, as well as a constantly intrusive negative thought or image. Some EMDR therapists ask patients to hone in on a particularly harmful belief.
Phases four through seven entail the implementation of EMDR treatment techniques. You concentrate on the negative thought, belief, or emotion before you start to make eye movements at the request of your therapist. After a series of eye movements specified by your therapist, your mind should start to go blank, which allows you to install a much more positive thought, belief, or emotion. If the targeted thought, belief, or emotion triggers painful physical sensations, your therapist might ask you to repeat the previous completed rapid eye movements.
Closure is the last step in treating your symptoms. The last phase of EMDR therapy entails a detailed evaluation of your progress.
Do I Need EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy helps people with overwhelmingly traumatic memories transform negative memories into more positive thoughts, beliefs, or emotions. If you suffer from the symptoms produced by PTSD, EMDR therapy might be the perfect treatment for your traumatic thoughts. Other mental health conditions that can lead to EMDR therapy include depression, acute anxiety, and panic attacks.
Meeting with a certified EMDR therapist provides you with the insight you need to decide whether EMDR therapy is the right mental health treatment for you.