What is EMDR?
EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, is a psychotherapy technique used to treat psychological trauma and other mental health conditions. The technique involves a therapist guiding a patient's eye movements while they recall distressing memories or thoughts. The idea behind EMDR is that the eye movements help to process the traumatic memories in a way that reduces their emotional impact. EMDR has been found to be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and depression, among other conditions. The technique typically involves a series of 90-minute sessions, during which the patient works with the therapist to identify and process traumatic memories. EMDR is considered a safe and non-invasive treatment, but it should only be carried out by trained and qualified professionals. Overall, EMDR is an innovative approach to treating psychological trauma that has shown promising results in helping individuals overcome their emotional distress and improve their mental health.
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a psychotherapy approach that can help individuals process traumatic memories or experiences stored in their brains in a maladaptive way. EMDR therapy involves a series of standardised protocols that incorporate elements from other psychotherapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and psychodynamic therapy.
During an EMDR session, the client is asked to recall a traumatic event while simultaneously tracking the therapist’s hand movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, such as tapping or auditory tones. The idea is that this bilateral stimulation helps to activate the brain’s natural healing processes, allowing the individual to process the traumatic memory more adaptively. Over time, this can lead to a reduction in the distress associated with memory and a decrease in symptoms of conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Is EMDR a recognised therapeutic approach?
Yes, EMDR is a recognised therapeutic approach that has been endorsed by several organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS).
The effectiveness of EMDR therapy has been supported by research, including several randomised controlled trials. EMDR therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of various conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, depression, and other trauma-related disorders.
In addition, EMDR therapy is recognised as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD by several guidelines, including those of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (VA/DoD), and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS).
Can EMDR really help some people?
Yes, EMDR therapy has been shown to be effective in helping many people who have experienced trauma, including those who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other trauma-related disorders.
Research studies have demonstrated that EMDR therapy can help reduce the intensity of traumatic memories, decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve overall functioning. Studies have also shown that for some people, EMDR therapy can be as effective as other evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), for treating PTSD.
Many people who have undergone EMDR therapy report significant improvements in their symptoms and quality of life. While not everyone responds to EMDR therapy, it can be a valuable treatment option for those who are struggling with the effects of trauma.
It is important to note that EMDR therapy should be conducted by a trained mental health professional who has received specialised training in this approach. It is not recommended to attempt to do EMDR therapy on your own or with an unqualified therapist.
Is EMDR safe?
Yes, EMDR therapy is generally considered safe when conducted by a trained mental health professional who has received specialised training in this approach. EMDR therapy is a structured and standardised treatment approach used successfully by many mental health professionals worldwide.
However, as with any form of psychotherapy, there are potential risks and side effects associated with EMDR therapy. Some people may experience temporary increases in distress or uncomfortable emotions during or after an EMDR session, and some may experience mild physical sensations such as dizziness or nausea. These side effects are generally short-lived and can be managed with the therapist’s support.
It is important to discuss any concerns you may have about the safety of EMDR therapy with a qualified mental health professional before starting treatment. Your therapist can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of EMDR therapy and help you decide whether it is the right treatment approach for you.
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Author: Ian Stockbridge