How does EMDR work?
When a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as well as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.
What is an EMDR session like?
The goal of EMDR therapy is to process the experiences that are causing problems, and to reprocess these experiences with new and adaptive ones that are needed for full health. “Processing” does not mean talking about it. “Processing” means allowing the experiences that are causing problems to be “digested” and stored appropriately in your brain. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations will be discarded. The goal of EMDR therapy is to leave you with the emotions, understanding, and perspectives that will lead to healthy and useful behaviors and interactions. We will use rapid eye movements, audible tones, or tapping in order to stimulate the brain to reprocess the distressing memories, thoughts, and feelings.
How long does EMDR therapy take?
One or more sessions are required for me to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. I’ll also discuss EMDR more fully and provide an opportunity to answer questions about the method. Once we have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem, the actual EMDR therapy may begin.
A typical EMDR session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR may be used within a standard “talking” therapy session or as a treatment all by itself.
What kind of problems can EMDR treat?
Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress. However, EMDR has also been reported to be successful in the treatment of the following conditions:
- Panic attacks
- Complicated grief
- Dissociative disorders
- Disturbing memories
- Pain disorders
- Performance anxiety
- Stress reduction
- Sexual and/or Physical abuse
- Body dysmorphic disorders
- Personality Disorders