EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a type of psychotherapy that uses eye movements and other bilateral stimulation to facilitate the process of healing from trauma-related symptoms. EMDR is a relatively new form of therapy to treat PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). People who have experienced major traumas such as a sexual or physical assault, an accident, the sudden death of a loved one or major illness, can benefit from EMDR. This type of therapy is also used to treat:
- Anxiety (such as social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias)
- Pain Management
- Specific phobias
- Eating Disorders
- Self-esteem issues
- Somatic symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems
One of the most exciting things about EMDR is the short timeframe in which people can achieve real change in their symptoms. Prior to the introduction of EMDR it was thought that emotional scarring from significant traumas would take years to heal through traditional psychotherapy. However, the short-term results of EMDR for many people who suffer with mental health concerns are very promising. The premise of this approach is that the brain naturally moves towards healing, in fact we heal from psychological trauma in the same way the physical body responds to a wound or injury. When given the right input, this healing process can be facilitated or unblocked. In essence, EMDR is about activating the mind’s own natural healing processes.
In EMDR therapy there are typically eight different phases. Phase 1 involves taking a history and developing a treatment plan. Phase 2 involves learning ways to cope and developing calming skills to use in between sessions. The latter phases (3 to 6) involve reprocessing the identified trauma that is causing emotional distress. This reprocessing occurs through the use of bilateral visual, auditory or tactile stimulation. Bilateral stimulation facilitates accessing and processing of emotionally distressing material while simultaneously creating new links or associations in the brain, hence stimulating healing.
Children, adolescents and adults can benefit from EMDR. Contact us today to make an appointment.