Beneath the surface of an individual can lie an array of non-physical injuries that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Symptoms present themselves as anxiety, depression, and addiction, and are incredibly painful for the individual to endure. Even with the support from family and friends who want to help, this often leads to the person feeling alone, desperate, and not sure where to turn. What we have found to be incredibly effective in treating this trauma is EMDR therapy.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is an effective treatment for trauma and supported by the American Psychological Association. It was first developed by Francine Shapiro who conducted a psychological study in 1989. She found that when we have traumatic thoughts, our eyes tend to move rapidly. Through EMDR, when we can control our eyes and focus, our anxious feelings tend to decrease, and we can reduce the effects of trauma. The success rate of that first study using trauma victims was posted in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.
Today, EMDR has been validated to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by more controlled studies than any other method. In the past, and even currently, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT was the standard practice for the treatment of trauma in psychotherapy. EMDR and CBT have both been shown to have an 80% success rate, however, EMDR achieves the same result in a shorter amount of time. EMDR is shown to work 50 to 66 percent quicker than CBT as well as having a much lower dropout rate.
We strive to utilize these practices in making sure our patients have the best chance of overcoming their trauma and living their lives without fear, and with the utmost confidence in themselves.
How do we use EMDR?
Utilizing EMDR therapy, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can, in fact, heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. These are therapies that work in a deep, efficient manner to bring about observable healing in the client. The goal of EMDR is to process these traumatic memories, reduce their lingering effects and allow clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.
For example, when you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the irritant is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward healthy mental activity. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.