Greater understanding of mental health has lead to better treatments for a variety of mental health disorders. Talk therapy has always been seen as the best treatment, but eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has also proven to be incredibly effective in a wide range of disorders.
What is EMDR?
This technique got its reputation by treating patients suffering from trauma. It’s been proven to be the most effective method of treating PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as rapidly as possible.
During EMDR sessions, the practitioner uses bilateral stimulation (right/left eye movement) to stimulate both sides of the brain. The theory is that this continual movement releases traumatic or emotional experiences that reside in the nervous system. This then taps into the mind/body connection, a common disconnect found in trauma patients.
EMDR is unique because patients begin to process experiences or feelings they aren’t able to talk about. Once they attend a few sessions of EMDR, they are in many cases able to talk about it quite easily.
Many patients report they can talk about these events or emotions without stress, a huge advancement for PTSD patients.
What Does it Treat?
Besides PTSD, EMDR is useful with many mental health problems. It’s very effective in people who experience anxiety, depression, or relationship problems.
As well as healing the memories of traumatic events, it also works to lessen a person’s fear of being alone or a lack of trust in others, especially in patients who have experienced an act of violence.
How EMDR Works
There are actually eight phases of treatment with EMDR. Each phase has its own purpose and goal, and each phase builds upon the other for the best results.
- Phase 1 involves history and treatment planning. The therapist takes a thorough history of their patient to develop their treatment plan. Patients don’t have to give their therapist any specific details about their traumatic event, making this type of therapy very unique.
- Phase 2 is preparation. The therapist gives the patient tools to deal with any negative emotions they’re experiencing. This allows for the patient to deal with any emotions that occur during their upcoming sessions.
- Phase 3 is assessment. This evaluates the patient’s negative emotions and works on helping them turn these fears/emotions into something more positive.
- Phase 4 is desensitization. This is where the eye movements come into play. The patient is led through a series of stimulations until their Subjective Units of Disturbance are a 0 to 1 level. The sessions start with the main event that caused trauma/negativity, and then it continues to include all of the associations related to the main cause of trauma.
- Phase 5 is installation. Patients reach this phase when they believe they’ve successfully replaced their negative thoughts/emotions with a more positive belief.
- Phase 6 is body scanning. This only occurs when the negative feelings have disappeared, and the patient is able to hold onto their positive cognition. The patient goes through the traumatic event and scans their body as they retell it to ensure there isn’t any lingering tensions, fear, or anxiety in their body.
- Phase 7 is closure. This happens after every session and ensures the patient knows how to deal with negativity or fear between sessions.
- Phase 8 is reevaluation. This is simply to ensure any positive changes have stayed in place.
EMDR is backed by dozens of scientific studies, and it can benefit anyone who is experiencing any kind of negativity in their life for a number of reasons. Contact Cady Wellness Institute today to find out more.