Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) was developed in the 1980s to alleviate the symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since then, however, it has become a widely used and effective technique for other psychological disorders, including various phobias and addiction, as well as PTSD.
How Does It Work?
Although the brain’s neurobiological responses to EMDR are unknown, a multitude of studies provide a wealth of evidence to support its efficacy when treating PTSD. According to the American Psychiatric Association, it is one of the top five treatments recommended for trauma.
If you’re tormented by a traumatic event, an event that, when recalled, manifests itself with the same vivid clarity, the same sounds, sights and smells, as the day it happened, then simply put, your brain has failed to process the information ordinarily. The event has almost become frozen in time, ready to re-emerge at the behest of some tenuous yet cruel reminder. EMDR readjusts your brain’s response and allows the information to be processed correctly. Normal functionality is resumed, if you like. You no longer relive the event in such a terrifyingly vivid way. You still remember it, of course, but it’s much less upsetting.
What Happens During our EMDR Sessions?
Initially, we explore your history and develop a treatment plan. This will include isolating specific targets, or events that cause distress, before using EMDR to reprocess them.
We then teach you some relaxation strategies to overcome any emotional disturbances experienced during and after each session, before finally exposing you to emotionally disturbing material and simultaneously encouraging you to focus on an external stimulus. This usually involves lateral eye movements that work to access the brain’s natural information processing mechanisms, thereby relieving present symptoms. In short, disturbing memories are reprocessed.
Is It for You?
If you suffer with PTSD, then EMDR is certainly worth considering. It has indeed been extensively researched and proven to ease the symptoms of trauma. At Vivid Psychology in Perth, however, and in line with recent studies, we also recommend it for panic attacks, phobias, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, pain disorders, performance anxiety, addiction, body dysmorphic- and personality-disorders. It is an effective treatment for a vast array of mental health disorders.
Our therapists specialise in using EMDR to treat PTSD and other conditions. We recognise the devastating emotional and psychological impact of traumatic events and, as such, approach our clients with care, sensitivity and understanding. If you seek further information, or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
In addition, if you’d like some advice regarding a friend or loved one, perhaps you think they may benefit from EMDR, again, get in touch and we’d be only too happy to discuss your concerns.