Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.
EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. EMDR therapy, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resume its natural healing process.
EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain. For many clients, EMDR therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than other psychotherapies.
The American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the World Health Organization among many other national and international organizations recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment.
Who Can Benefit From EMDR?
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
- Chronic Illness and medical issues
- Depression and bipolar disorders
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Performance anxiety
- PTSD and other trauma and stress-related issues
- Sexual assault
- Sleep disturbance
Myths About EMDR
MYTH 1: There is no research on the effectiveness of EMDR.
Over 20 randomized, controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR. These studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases or eliminates the symptoms of post-traumatic distress for the majority of clients; moreover, clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety or low self-esteem.
MYTH 2: EMDR works in just one session.
Some people dealing with a single incident of trauma can often resolve the disturbing experience within three to four sessions. Others with more complex or multiple traumatic events can anticipate a longer series of sessions to address fully their treatment goals. In the first several sessions, therapist and client work together to develop a treatment plan, build trust and resources, and to prepare for using eye movements to desensitize and reprocess the targeted incidents.
MYTH 3: I’ll have to share the details of what happened.
Because EMDR accesses the brain’s own ability to “digest” trauma and store the memories in a more processed form, clients do not need to share the details of their experience. As with all psychotherapies, clients are in control of what and how much they share with the therapist.
MYTH 4: I’ll have to relive the trauma all over again.
EMDR does not require clients to relive the trauma intensely or for a prolonged time. In the actual reprocessing, many people get only a glimpse of the original experience. Others may feel a stronger degree of intensity but only for brief moments as the distress decreases quickly on its own. The EMDR therapist is also trained in techniques to help the client lower the emotional intensity and access positive coping when needed.
MYTH 5: EMDR is just moving your eyes back and forth; anyone can do EMDR.
EMDR is a comprehensive approach to psychotherapy that requires training and certification, good clinical judgment and experience in treating trauma.
MYTH 6: The therapeutic effect of EMDR doesn’t last.
The American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies highly recommend EMDR as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress. Scientific and clinical evidence continues to show that EMDR can be an efficient and effective therapy. In addition, over two million people around the world are estimated to have successfully treated their symptoms and related concerns with EMDR.
Denise Villega, LPC is trained in EMDR and is currently accepting new clients. If you would like to learn more about EMDR and how it might be helpful to you, please contact us by phone at 717-602-5560 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject EMDR.