How EMDR Therapy Can Change Your Life

How EMDR Therapy Can Change Your Life

How EMDR Therapy Can Change Your Life

Many people in your everyday life, from co-workers to close friends, have experienced traumatic events that have led them to conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD affects approximately 3.5% of adults per year. It is also said that one in eleven people will be diagnosed with PTSD.

PTSD is not the only mental illness resulting from traumatic events. Depression, anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, and grief are a few things the people you know and love could be experiencing daily due to specific experiences.

The good news is that there are studies and therapies that can help alleviate these disorders’ symptoms. One such therapy is the focus of this article. Throughout this article, you will learn what EMDR therapy is, how it is performed, and what to expect.

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy treatment that will help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD and other mental illnesses associated with trauma. This therapy is administered by a therapist who will walk the person affected through the traumatic events and try to help them rewire their brain to react differently to the event in the future. The main goal of this therapy is to try and help you process what had occurred and help your brain move on from psychological distress to a state of healing.

How is EMDR Therapy Administered?

EMDR therapy is administered in a series of phases. Each phase could take only one session to complete or multiple. There is no set timeline for EMDR as each person receiving the treatment will have a personally tailored action plan. It is essential to understand that this process seems simple, but in reality, it is complex and requires subtlety by the therapists. No one’s trauma is more or less severe than others. It just depends on how the individual reacts and copes with the trauma.

The following is a brief explanation of what each phase entails and what it might look like:

Phase One

The first phase is deciding if this treatment is right for someone. While EMDR can be an extremely effective option, sometimes the person might not be ready for this approach. During the first phase, the patient and therapist will determine if they are in the right “headspace” to tackle their problem head-on. For some, additional or preemptive treatments may be needed to get them to a place where they can handle EMDR.

Phase Two

This phase will find the patient practicing techniques to help calm their mind and body. The client is about to confront their most painful memories. They must be able to control their emotions and keep calm so the treatment is not interrupted or delayed.

This phase has a lot of solo practice needed to work through big emotions and stressors underlining the disorder. This phase is also where trust between the therapist and client is formed. Without trust, EMDR will not be effective. Once again, the client is about to face their trauma head-on, so they must trust the therapist to open up about it genuinely.

Phase Three

This phase will revolve around the therapist and the client finding a target feeling or sensation. The goal is to exchange feelings of dread, sickness, or anger from a specific event in their life with a positive thought or feeling. For example, instead of feeling “nauseous” or “angry” at the memory of childhood neglect, they will replace that with the thought, “I am an adult now, and my childhood neglect does not dictate my life anymore.” These memories will never go away, so they must try to “rewire” their brain to view them as something better or, at the very least, manageable.

Phases Four and Five

These phases are where the “rewiring” takes place. The therapist will ask the client what their Subjective Unit of Disturbance (SUD) level is as they remember traumatic events. The therapist will then instruct the client to perform specific actions like tapping their hands and moving their eyes in a certain way. This will help the client access areas of their brain that otherwise would lie dormant, making the rewiring process quicker. They will not move past these stages until their SUD levels have dramatically lowered.

Phase Six

This is a checkpoint phase. The therapist will let the client’s mind wander and ask specific questions about the places it takes them. They might also bring up the agreed-upon target event to determine any feelings the client has. The sole purpose of this phase is to see what progress is being made and help configure the next phase.

Phase Seven

This phase is all about closing the session. The therapist will remind the client of coping and calming techniques and help them regain a sense of calm before leaving. Many clients’ issues will not be resolved in one session, so leaving calmly will help them decide to return. This phase might also be paired with “homework” on practicing soothing techniques and keeping a journal.

Phase Eight

This phase will be a reflection stage after treatment has ended. It will allow the client to reflect on how far they have come and what they still need to work on. This phase could also help them determine any events they were unaware of that need attention.

What Should I Expect After EMDR?

Some people do experience side effects from this treatment. It is common and should not be a cause for concern. Just like one would expect swelling and soreness around an incision site after surgery, you can also expect your brain to show signs of healing. Lightheadedness, vivid dreams, increased awareness, and large waves of emotions are common for people receiving EMDR treatment.

There are also numerous benefits that people will immediately reap after EMDR treatment. These benefits can even help those who have not experienced trauma. Decreasing anxiety, changing negative thinking, and improving confidence are ways that people who do not have disorders resulting from trauma can benefit from EMDR treatment. For those with trauma, imagine living a life that is not controlled by specific memories or events. EMDR is continually growing, and studies are finding more and more benefits from this treatment.

Salt Therapy and Wellness Is Here to Help!

People with mental illnesses will find it hard to approach traumatic events and even harder to try and change the way they view them. Discomfort from the process will occur, but this should not deter anyone from receiving the help. Salt Therapy and Wellness can help give you the treatment you need. Do not hesitate to seek help if you have any mental illness. Contact us today!


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