If you’ve ever been through a traumatic event, you know the power it may have on you. It can leave you feeling stuck and overwhelmed. Nightmares, blackouts, and the resulting isolation from anxiety can cause significant disruption in your everyday activities.
Many try to push these experiences out of our minds, hoping they will go away alone. But as we all know, this rarely works. The memories, feelings, and behaviors associated with the trauma can linger for years, impacting our lives. So even though standard talk therapy and medications are the most common modalities for post-traumatic stress disorder, you might ponder other options.
That’s where Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) comes in.
What is EMDR?
EMDR, also known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a form of psychotherapy that is highly effective in helping individuals overcome the adverse effects of trauma and other distressing experiences. For example, when an individual experiences military combat, physical assault, rape, serious health problems, or car accidents, they might have PTSD.
When the brain becomes overloaded with sensory information during a traumatic experience, it may struggle to process and integrate the memories associated with that event. As a result, these memories can become “frozen” in the brain, returning in fragmented form through flashbacks and nightmares. It can give the person a sense of reliving the traumatic event repeatedly, often accompanied by intense emotions and physical sensations.
So, Francine Shapiro developed EMDR in 1987 to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
With rapid eye movement therapy and additional bilateral stimulation, EMDR helps individuals process and resolve negative memories. In addition, it reduces symptoms and improves overall functioning. In other words, EMDR can help others heal from the inside out. EMDR trauma therapy employs repetitive eye movements, tapping, or tones to assist individuals in recovering from psychological suffering and trauma.
Don’t panic if you’re already feeling overwhelmed. Instead, please read this article to learn more about how EMDR works, the types of trauma it treats, its effectiveness, and where to find permanent relief with EMDR.
How Does EMDR Work?
Visualize yourself in a beautiful, calm forest. You stumble across a tangled clump of vines blocking your path. As you strive to avoid them, you become incredibly agitated and irritated. The vines appear everywhere, and you can’t find a way through them.
The scenario is much like what it can feel to be trapped by negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Like the vines in the forest, these negative patterns can block your path and prevent you from moving forward. They can be tough to untangle; no matter how hard we try, we may feel like we are going in circles.
And that’s where EMDR therapy can help you if you are coping with mental health and trauma issues. By using a combination of eye movements and other bilateral stimulation (such as tapping or auditory tones), EMDR helps to activate the brain’s natural healing system, much like removing the vines that are blocking our path in the forest. This allows individuals to process and resolve negative memories, reducing symptoms and improving overall functioning.
The adaptive information processing (AIP) concept underpins EMDR. According to this paradigm, everyone is born with a mechanism that assists them in absorbing new information, developing an understanding, and keeping it in their memories. According to the AIP concept, symptoms may diminish when memories are thoroughly processed. EMDR helps process memories and encourages the mind to retain them differently related to fresh feelings and emotions. As the brain recovers from previous events, it thinks, feels better, and reacts more reasonably to future situations when triggered.
Various studies have indicated that Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is quite successful for patients who have PTSD, with some claiming a success rate of 77%.
In other words, EMDR can help you untangle the knots of negative patterns and move forward in your lives with greater ease and clarity.
What type of trauma does EMDR treat?
The American Psychological Association has conditionally recommended EMDR for PTSD treatment based on scientific findings. EMDR can heal severe traumatic memories and PTSD symptoms. It may be especially beneficial if you have difficulty communicating your trauma with others, even therapists. One study showed that almost 8% of the US population faces PTSD.
Several everyday situations can lead to PTSD, including:
● Death of beloved
● Natural disasters
Keeping this in mind, the following is a glimpse of how EMDR treatment can treat specific mental health issues.
People can have PTSD at any age. Most people who use EMDR therapy experience long-term improvements. People who have PTSD have unsettling sensations and thoughts about their terrible experiences that remain long after the incident has finished. They might relive the event in hallucinations or dreams, experience sadness, dread, or fury, and feel disconnected or alienated from others. One study found that after only three 90-minute sessions, 84-90% of single-trauma patients no longer exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to research, about 90% of Americans have had at least one traumatic incident. Trauma can be fatal. Suffering from trauma could make an individual feel powerless, afraid, and weak. EMDR therapy restores the client’s power. EMDR therapy can provide a feeling of emotional consciousness, allowing a person to have a more optimistic viewpoint. This renewed empowerment enables a more healthy and long-term recovery from trauma.
Addiction treatment emphasizes addressing the underlying causes of substance abuse. EMDR therapy is especially effective in this regard. Various factors can cause people’s addictions, and past trauma is often a contributing factor. Treatment of trauma and anxiety may also help in addiction recovery if those conditions contribute to a person’s substance use disorder.
According to some studies, EMDR may effectively cure depression. For example, in one study, approximately 70% of participants who received EMDR experienced full recovery from their depression symptoms.
Benefits of EMDR therapy
● Reducing symptoms of trauma and stress
● Improving overall functioning
● Yields fast results
● Being a fast-acting treatment
● Being a non-invasive treatment
● Providing a sense of empowerment
● Being adaptable to individual needs
Help for EMDR therapy
Memories could do much more than simply evoke sorrow. These memories can interfere with your regular functioning if you’ve been through trauma and PTSD.
If you or someone you know is struggling with negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that seem impossible to overcome, consider seeking an EMDR-trained therapist from a treatment center for support and guidance on healing.
At Augustine Recovery, we offer EMDR therapy as part of our comprehensive treatment program for individuals seeking to overcome the adverse effects of trauma and other distressing life experiences. Our team of skilled and compassionate therapists is trained in EMDR and is committed to helping our clients heal and move forward in their lives with greater ease and clarity.
Don’t let trauma and other distressing experiences hold you back any longer. Contact Augustine Recovery today to learn more about EMDR therapy and other treatment options we offer. Together, we can help you find the healing and hope you deserve.