Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and other psychological stress.
What can EMDR treat?
Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress. Clinicians have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:
– panic attacks
– complicated grief
– dissociative disorders
– disturbing memories
– pain disorders
– performance anxiety
– stress reduction
– sexual and/or physical abuse
– body dysmorphic disorders
– personality disorders
What is the actual EMDR session like?
EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that involve a three pronged treatment approach working with: past memories, present disturbance, and future actions. These are needed to alleviate symptoms and address the complete clinical picture. The amount of time needed to complete the treatment depends on the history of the client.
The goal of EMDR therapy is to process experiences that are continuing to create stress and anxiety. Processing does not mean talking about it. Processing means creating a learning state that will allow stressful experiences to be properly digested and stored appropriately in your brain. What is useful to you from a past experience will be learned and stored with appropriate levels of emotion in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future.
Unnecessary emotions, limiting beliefs, and physical sensations will be discarded. Negative emotions, feelings and behaviors are generally caused by unresolved past experiences that are influencing you in a negative way. The goal of EMDR therapy is to leave you with the emotions, understanding, and perspectives that are healthy and useful in future behaviors and interactions.
Does EMDR really work?
Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR. These studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients. Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety. The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress. EMDR was also found effective by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health, and many other international health and governmental agencies. Research has also shown that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment.
Meagan Hamilton M.A., R.C.C is a Registered Counsellor at Evoke Wellness who focuses her practice with adolescents and adults. She has a client-centered approach and strives to assist her clients in leading their own individual journey to personal wellness.