What is Emdr therapy?

Emdr therapy

In this brief blog, we will be talking about EMDR therapy, EMDR therapists, the sessions in EMDR therapy and more information about EMDR therapy.

What is Emdr therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (Emdr) therapy is a kind of psychotherapy where the client will be able to learn some techniques to cope better with traumatic memories. This kind of psychotherapy focuses on the desensitization of patients to traumatic events that have happened in their lives. These patients will be gradually exposed to scenes of some traumatic events while they are focusing on another object or situation. This kind of psychotherapy makes the belief that emotional wounds take a long time an outdated quote since this kind of psychotherapy promises quick relief from the traumatic event that has affected the patient emotionally.

This kind of psychotherapy stems from the use of rapid eye movement sleep to help the patient learn to calm down to process a traumatic event. This level of sleep can help the patient feel the emotional wounds that are associated with the traumatic event that has occurred. This kind of psychotherapy allows the patient to take over the therapy session. The therapist only guides the patient to the different processes of the therapy session.

Guidelines of Emdr therapy

Guidelines have been authorized by several psychological authorities to standardize Emdr therapy. These kinds of guidelines focus on who can receive advantages from this kind of therapy. 

Here are some psychological authorizations that have made guidelines for Emdr therapy:

  • The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has taken into account that Emdr therapy is effective for treating symptoms of acute and complex PTSD. According to the APA, this kind of therapy may be specifically useful for people who have difficulty speaking about the traumatic events they’ve experienced. The APA guidelines have also taken into account that other studies are needed to tell whether enhancements from this therapy can be maintained over time.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have together authorized clinical psychology practice guidelines. These kinds of guidelines highly suggested Emdr therapy for the treatment of PTSD in both military and non-military populations. They also took into account that this approach has been as effective as other psychological treatments in some studies, and less effective in others.

You can learn more about the guidelines set out by the APA by buying this book on this website.

What is Emdr therapy?

How does Emdr therapy work as a kind of therapy?

Emdr therapy works as a kind of therapy by being divided into eight various components so you’ll need to attend multiple sessions of this kind of therapy. This kind of therapy often takes 6 to 12 therapy sessions.

Stage 1 (Background and treatment planning)

Your therapist will be reviewing the background of your psychological tendencies and the events that may disturb your psychological growth. In this case, the therapist will ask you about the traumatic event that you have undergone which have caused you great distress.

You can learn more about taking your psychological background by buying this book on this website.

What is Emdr therapy?

Stage 2 (Preparation)

Your therapist will then describe to you about some coping mechanisms that you can do to better your way of handling distressing events. You may even be taught about famous relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and meditation.

Stage 3 (Assessment)

In this third stage, the therapist will ask you what traumatic memory should you start coping with first and work you to other parts of the specific traumatic memory which will help you get gradually exposed to the distressing emotions of the traumatic memory.

Stages 4-7 (Treatment)

This is when the therapist will be applying the techniques of EMDR therapy to you. First, you will be focusing on a specific memory, thoughts and emotions surrounding the trauma.

Your therapist will be instructing you to do some eye movements gradually and based on your pace. The bilateral stimulation in Emdr therapy will include taps and movements if you are comfortable with it.

After the bilateral stimulation in Emdr therapy, your mind will focus on nothing as the thoughts and emotions will be on you in seconds that are related to the traumatic event. This is when you will be concentrating on each part of the traumatic event taking them one at a time.

If you are beginning to get distressed while exploring parts of the traumatic memory, the therapist will do something to bring you back to the present and help you calm down. With Emdr therapy, you are more likely to have your thoughts and emotions about a traumatic memory wash away in the long run.

You can learn more about the eye movement technique by buying this book on this website.

What is Emdr therapy?

Stage 8 (Evaluation)

In this final stage, the therapist will ask you about your progress throughout the Emdr therapy sessions. Your therapist will also provide feedback and highlight those you need to improve on.

Who uses Emdr therapy?

Emdr therapy is used by researchers who wish to understand more about the psychological nature of trauma and what heals the afflicted person from it. This kind of therapy has also been widely used for soldiers who just got back from the war.

Recent studies have found that Emdr therapy has been effective in treating violent or unwanted intercourse and sexual abuse, childhood trauma and neglect, military trauma, life-threatening accidents, and distressing symptoms such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse. One psychologist even proclaimed that the application of this therapy is enough for people who have been affected by trauma. 

Emdr therapy helps patients to distract themselves from the distressing emotions that have shrouded their vision to a cycle of fear and anxiety. This kind of therapy can make the person more aware of his or her thoughts and emotions surrounding the traumatic event without the need to be judged by another person and they can get exposed to these inner feelings in a calm way.

You can also minimize your distressing emotions by buying these cards that can lessen your distress on this website.

What is Emdr therapy?

What are the advantages of Emdr therapy?

As mentioned before, Emdr therapy is specifically effective for people who are afflicted with PTSD or having traumatic memories. This kind of therapy is very useful to let people open up about their traumatic memories.

There may not be enough studies if Emdr therapy is also effective with other psychological disorders but this kind of therapy to benefit people who have the following psychological disorders:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • eating disorders
  • Addictions

How effective is Emdr therapy?

Emdr therapy is found to be very effective for people with PTSD. This kind of therapy has been used by the Veterans Administration to help affected soldiers who are afflicted by PTSD.

Another study even found that Emdr therapy has treated most of the patients with comorbid psychosis and PTSD. This means that this kind of therapy has helped in minimizing the symptoms of hallucinations, anxiety, delusions, and depression symptoms which were significantly enhanced after this kind of psychological treatment. 

This study also stated that the mentioned symptoms were not induced during Emdr therapy. This kind of therapy compared to long-term exposure therapy was more effective in treating the traumatised symptoms. 

This kind of study has also found that most clients of Emdr therapy were less likely to discontinue this kind of treatment. This kind of therapy has also been effective in treating additional symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety and depression as mentioned before.

Other studies have found that Emdr therapy compared to other therapies was more likely to help clients in the short-term and the long-term. This was experienced by clients who have used this kind of therapy to minimize their traumatised symptoms which have been reduced after several months.

Emdr therapy has also been discovered to be effective in treating depressive disorders. Also, patients who underwent this kind of therapy were less likely to relapse than other depressed patients who had gone to another psychotherapy. 

However, this kind of study had a small sample which means that more studies should be done to validate this kind of finding. You can learn more about depression by buying this book here.

What you need to expect from Emdr therapy?

You should expect Emdr therapy to be secured and the less potential of you getting side effects. However, these side effects should be taken into account when you take this kind of therapy.

Emdr therapy has been known by most clients to trigger heightened consciousness state. This means that you might feel light-headed that may not end even if you are done with your therapy session. 

Emdr therapy has also been reported to cause vivid and whimsical dreams. This may occur since this kind of therapy has very long sessions to minimize PTSD symptoms as much as possible. 

This is the norm of Emdr therapy since getting rid of the distressing feelings from a traumatic event don’t happen overnight. Also, you might get easily affected at the start of your therapy when you will be mentioning your traumatic memory. 

Emdr therapy can be good for you in the long run but you might find yourself hesitant and distressed in the first steps of this therapy. This is why you should speak to your therapist about what occurs in this kind of therapy and your discomfort about the process of this therapy.

Combining Emdr therapy with other psychological interventions

Emdr therapy is not the only psychotherapy that can cure PTSD symptoms or anxiety symptoms and you shouldn’t be hindered that this kind of therapy should be used alone. You can ask your therapist if it’s alright for you to take another therapy while you are in the process of taking Emdr therapy.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy is very effective in teaching you other coping mechanisms that are better for you. Rational emotive therapy is another therapy that can be paired with Emdr therapy that can you teach about better thinking patterns. 

If you aren’t comfortable about attending other therapies while you are having Emdr therapy, you can use some home remedies such as mental health apps or expressing your emotions through writing or drawing

Conclusion

In this brief blog, we have talked about EMDR therapy, EMDR therapists, the sessions in EMDR therapy and more information about EMDR therapy.

If you have any questions about EMDR therapy, please let us know and the team will gladly answer your queries.

FAQs: Emdr therapy

Does EMDR work for anxiety?

Yes, EMDR can work for anxiety. This kind of therapy works by destroying the associations you have made with specific situations and objects where your anxiety symptoms come from. This kind of therapy has been effective against anxiety symptoms.

Can you perform EMDR on yourself?

Yes, you can perform EMDR therapy on yourself but this can be done partially by you. You can cope with a traumatic memory by yourself. You can minimize the distress yourself when you are faced with a traumatic event but the full advantages of this therapy can only be achieved through a therapist. 

Can EMDR create false memories?

EMDR can create false memories when the client is highly suggestible to the therapist’s instructions. This can happen in the process of remembering the traumatic event while being distracted by the therapist’s instructions.

How long is EMDR for complex trauma?

EMDR takes 5 hours to treat people with complex trauma. This is because people with complex trauma tend to imprint their traumatic memories too much. Also, there are many symptoms of complex trauma that need to be addressed.

How do you feel after EMDR?

After EMDR, you may feel relaxed, less burdened, and optimistic about your life. You will be more capable of handling traumatic situations with the coping mechanisms you have learned this kind of therapy.

Citations

Healthline. EMDR Therapy: What You Need to Know.

Psycom. EMDR Therapy for Anxiety, Panic, PTSD and Trauma.

WebMD. EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

What is Emdr therapy?

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.