EMDR therapy can help reduce the effects of your painful memories
Many people believe that dreaming helps our minds work through difficult memories and issues. EMDR therapy seeks to replicate that process in our awake bodies … transforming our negative relationships with painful memories. Basically, you’re retraining your brain.
When you have had an extremely upsetting or traumatic experience, your brain may not be able to process information the way it normally does. This is because your nervous system goes into a reactive, or “triggered,” state.
Remembering the event can often feel as bad as the first time you experienced it, and new experiences can trigger a similar distressing reaction. Because of this, traumatic experiences can remain unresolved and cause ongoing disruptions in various aspects of your life, including how you feel about yourself, how you see the world and how you relate to others.
EMDR therapy can help you find a new relationship with your trauma … one that doesn’t control your life.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
When EMDR therapy begins, you will relax into a chair while your therapist alternates between some form of bilateral (two-sided) stimulation and periods of quiet.
- During the bilateral stimulation, they will move their fingers (or some equivalent) back and forth in front of your eyes.
- During the quite times, your will close your eyes and allow your mind follow a natural path through your thoughts and your past experience.
After this process has been repeated several times — and your therapist feels that you have reached a good place to pause — they will gently bring you back into normal conversation.
Finally, you will be asked to scan your body, noticing any tension, tightness or other unusual physical sensations. Then, you will once again evaluate your level of distress around the experience.
NOTE: You will be awake and conscious throughout the entire process. At no point are you in a trance or asleep or otherwise unconscious. You are able to voluntarily pause or stop the process at any time.
To better understand EMDR therapy, please watch this short video:
EMDR therapy for PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when the memory of a trauma continues to haunt you, no matter how hard you try to “move on.” While military veterans are the most well-known group to suffer from PTSD, the disorder can affect anyone who has experienced any sort of trauma.
EMDR therapy for PTSD treats the symptoms head on, and has seen some pretty incredibly results. According to recent studies, nearly 90% of patients have experienced varying degrees of relief from their symptoms after three to seven treatments of EMDR therapy for PTSD.¹
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