A Closer Look at EMDR Therapy

A Closer Look at EMDR Therapy

A Closer Look at EMDR Therapy

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is a relatively new type of psychotherapy developed in 1990. This therapy is a highly effective treatment for people suffering from trauma, PTSD, panic, and anxiety. In addition, it is known as a way to get past your past. This approach has been validated clinically with over 30 controlled randomized studies.

This integrative psychotherapy approach has been researched extensively and proven effective for trauma treatment. EMDR therapy in Orlando is characterized by a set of standardized protocols incorporating elements from various treatment approaches and has reduced psychological trauma for millions of individuals of every age.

EMDR at a glance

This therapy is a focused phased approach to treating an individual's trauma or other symptoms by reconnecting them in a measured and safe way to the body sensations, emotions, self-thoughts, and images associated with trauma they have experienced. It allows the natural healing powers of the human brain to move an individual toward a more adaptive resolution.

Its foundation is the belief that symptoms happen when trauma and other challenges or negative experiences overwhelm a person's brain's natural ability for healing. Then, the natural healing process can be completed and facilitated through bilateral stimulation while patients are re-experiencing their trauma within a safe environment.

EMDR is an 8 phase therapy that can identify and address traumatic experiences overwhelming a patient's brain's natural coping ability. As a result, the body creates trauma symptoms, like anxiety or flashbacks, and harmful coping strategies, like self-medication and isolating behavior.

How it works

EMDR allows patients to safely reprocess any traumatic information until it can no longer psychologically disrupt their life. Over time, a patient's exposure to traumatic memories will fail to induce distressing symptoms and negative feelings.

EMDR's 8 phases of treatment include:

  • History taking
  • Client preparation
  • Assessment
  • Desensitization
  • Installation
  • Body scan
  • Closure
  • Re-evaluation of treatment effect

During this therapy, a patient focuses on traumatic memory and identify their belief about themselves. When this belief is connected to a negative memory, the treatment teaches the patient to change their self-view by associating it with a more positive thought. For example, it is common for abuse victims to feel like they deserve to be abused. EMDR assists the patient with seeing that view as a self-destructive way of thinking. So, "I deserve to be abused" becomes "I am a good and worthwhile person with control over my life."

All of the emotions and sensations associated with the traumatic memory are identified. The patient then reviews their recollection while focusing on external stimuli that create bilateral eye movement. This bilateral stimulation is achieved by watching the therapy provider move two fingers in most cases. After every set of bilateral activities, the patient is asked how they feel. This process continues until a patient's trauma is processed and their memory no longer disturbs them. Then, the selective positive belief is installed through bilateral movement, replacing the negative sentiment. Sessions typically last for an hour.

The theory is that EMDR works because bilateral stimulation bypasses the part of the brain processing memory that has become stuck due to trauma. When a traumatizing or problematic memory becomes stuck, it prevents the patient's brain from adequately processing and storing that memory. As a result, patients can process their memory safely in EMDR, leading to a peaceful resolution. In addition, this therapy leaves patients with increased insight regarding previously traumatic events and any negative thoughts about themselves that have developed due to the original trauma.

EMDR therapy in Orlando can help you process traumatic experiences that negatively impact your life. Contact us today for more information.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.