What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?
EMDR is a safe, effective and well-studied psychotherapy tool for treating trauma. For many, discussing traumatic experiences returns them to the same overwhelming feeling of the initial experience. For those having trouble discussing memories and experiences due to the rapid onset of anxiety and panic, EMDR has proven to be a safe and effective treatment option. Psychotherapists use EMDR to expose clients to disturbing memories while using a physical stimulus to divert attention from their emotional consequences. EMDR incorporates mindfulness training and cognitive therapies to help clients achieve a sense of control over their anxiety. Over time, clients learn to cope with traumatic memories in a healthy way. EMDR is supported by both the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
How does EMDR work?
During preliminary sessions the client and therapist work to identify the client’s traumatic experiences and current sources of distress. For the majority of treatment, a client will recall distressing images or memories while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input. Examples include: side to side eye movements, tapping on the hands or legs, auditory sounds in headphones, or even shifting weight from left to right leg. EMDR doesn’t necessarily have to be about eye movement after all, but is now part of the common nomenclature. The goal of EMDR therapy is to completely process past and current issues that are causing the person distress.
How long does EMDR take?
Each session may last up to 90 minutes, but as the client experiences reduced reactions the sessions will shorten. As with any mental health treatment, there is no guarantee of how long treatment will last or how effective treatment will be for each individual.
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