What is Rapid Eye Movement Therapy? EMDR helps people process trauma
Rapid eye movement therapy is also called EMDR.
22:12 14 April 2021
EMDR (Eye movement desensitization reprocessing) is a type of therapy where people learn to process their trauma. It's often used for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The theory behind EMDR is traumatic events are easier to process when a person's attention is diverted. An EMDR therapist uses different techniques to help a client work through trauma including bilateral stimulation. Here's how this treatment works for trauma and other types of mental health conditions.
The eight phases of EMDR
There are eight phases of EMDR. Each of them helps the person progress to the point where they're able to engage in the exercises to process their trauma. Below are the eight different phases and how they work
Phase one - Client history
During phase one, the therapist learns about the client's mental health history, and experiences with trauma. The client describes what they've been through, including any painful memories that stand out. After taking emotional inventory, the therapist develops a treatment plan for the client.
Phase two - The preparation process
During the preparation process, the therapist helps the client learn coping skills for anxiety and stress management. That way, when traumatic memories come up, they're prepared to handle them.
Phases three - Assessment
During the assessment phase, the therapist identifies which memories they will target for the client during treatment. In addition to assessing what will be treated, they talk about the physical sensations associated with the memories.
Phase four - seven - Desensitization treatment
During these phases is where the actual treatment begins. Now that the therapist and client have laid the groundwork for what will be targeted, the mental health professional starts using bilateral stimulation. They move their finger back and forth so that the client follows it with their eyes. At first, the therapist tells the client to let their mind go completely blank. As the person watches the finger movements, it helps them relax. After that, the therapist begins targeting the trauma. As the client is watching the therapist's finger move back and forth, they think about a traumatic memory. If the client feels distressed, they let the therapist know.
They deal with anxiety as it comes. Sometimes, the person feels it in their body. The mind and body are connected, so it's not surprising that when you're upset, you feel it in your physical self. The goal of desensitization is to help the client process their trauma in a safe way. After using the bilateral stimulation and confronting the traumatic memory, they become desensitized to the trauma's impact.
Phase eight - Evaluation
After treatment ends, it's time to evaluate the progress. The therapist asks the client how they feel when they bring up the traumatic memory. The hope is that their anxiety or distressing feelings are less intense than before they started EMDR.
Alternative techniques for EMDR
In addition to bilateral stimulation, or rapid eye movement, therapists who practice EMDR may also use what's called "tapping." The client taps specific acupressure points on their body while thinking about a distressing memory. Additionally, there are therapists who use audio stimulation to help clients process trauma. The client listens to different sounds in each ear while they think of a traumatic memory. That helps them work through it.
Does EMDR work for trauma?
The answer is a resounding "yes!" EMDR is excellent at helping people who have trauma process it and heal. The treatment can reduce the number of panic attacks people experience and help them heal.
Is the EMDR right for you?
You may be wondering if EMDR is right for you. You can read more about the treatment here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-is-rapid-eye-movement-therapy/. If you're experiencing the side effects of trauma, including panic attacks, depression, and disassociation, you could benefit from EMDR. You don't need to struggle with these issues alone. Seek out the help of a licensed therapist. You can also find a counselor who practices trauma-informed therapy. Whether you see a counselor online or in your local area, it's crucial to get help for your mental health. Trauma can be painful, but it's more distressing when you ignore the symptoms. If you're suffering, seek help today. It's a simple as looking for a therapist online.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.