What is EMDR for Trauma? How Can It Help Me?
What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy for Trauma?
No, It’s NOT Hypnosis! So, What Is EMDR?
EMDR for trauma is a type of psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of trauma or adversities such as issues of abuse, bullying, domestic violence, grief, abandonment, and attachment wounds.
In order to give you a better picture of what happens during EMDR for trauma, here’s how the EMDR Institute explains it:
“Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.
If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.”
If you would like to read more from the EMDR Institute, Inc., please see http://www.emdr.com/frequent-questions/.
EMDR therapy was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1989 and it uses several different traditional forms of counseling models. EMDR is based on the adaptive information processing model (AIP) which believes that there is a part of the brain that gets blocked when traumatic or highly emotional things happen.
This causes these events to get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Whenever a reminder of the event comes up, those pictures, thoughts, feelings, and sensations are “triggered”.
According to Dr. Shapiro, many emotional problems and disorders are a direct result of these unprocessed memories from the disturbing events that are stored in the brain. EMDR therapy works on helping the brain reprocess these traumatic memories through bilateral stimulation (eye movement), and as a result alleviating the emotional and psychological disorders.
Who Can EMDR Help?
EMDR therapy has been used with people with a wide variety of emotional and psychological problems including PTSD, anxiety, phobias and depression. EMDR therapy is now validated as an evidence-based approach and included in SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
In addition, EMDR therapy has been validated by over 20 randomized controlled clinical trials (white sheet: https://www.emdrhap.org/content/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/EMDR_Research_2014_and_Clinical_Applications.pdf).
There are many benefits to EMDR therapy. But you may be asking yourself, “What can *I* get out of this?” Dr. Shapiro writes about this here https://psychcentral.com/lib/can-you-benefit-from-emdr-therapy/.
What Symptoms Can EMDR Help?
- High anxiety and lack of motivation
- Memories of a traumatic experience
- Fear of being alone
- Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame
- Fear of being alone
- Difficulty in trusting others
- Relationship problems
- EMDR is faster than many other types of therapy
- EMDR is accepted by many major insurances as appropriate treatment method
- EMDR is used for treatment of anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder
- EMDR is a research based, effective treatment
How Do I Get Started?
Jolie Carsten, LCSW, and Sarah Olson, LCSW, at Champaign Counseling are trained in EMDR therapy. You can call our office at (217) 203-2008 to schedule an appointment to see if EMDR therapy is right for you!