Grief, Mental Wellness, Mind Body, PTSD

How to Use EMDR Therapy to Successfully Triumph Over Trauma

EMDR therapy is an effective treatment option for people suffering from anxiety, panic, PTSD, or trauma. It’s a way to help conquer traumatic memories.

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, or EMDR Therapy, focuses on our memory and the brain. When an upsetting or traumatic event occurs, it can get stored in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feeling, and body sensations. Inadequately processed and maladaptively stored memories are stored in our brains.

EMDR Therapy Success is Research-Based

According to the EMDR Research Foundation, EMDR has been clinically validated by more than 30 randomized and controlled studies (the gold standard for clinical studies). Scientific research has also established EMDR as effective for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR clinicians also have reported success using in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Panic attacks
  • Complicated grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Addictions
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Trauma disorders
What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR Therapy Benefits

EMDR Therapy for PTSD

According to the EMDR Institute Inc., several studies on EMDR therapy show that 84-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.

An additional study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, concluded that “100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple-trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions.” In a different study, 77% of combat veterans were healed of PTSD in 12 sessions.

Processing Trauma Without Help to Guide You

The brain is unable to form the fragments back together. The result is the feeling you are reliving these upsetting or traumatic events in real time. The brain struggles to process and filter your current experience through these memories in an unhelpful/maladaptive way.

Traumatic intrusions are horrifying; they interfere with our ability to deal with the past while distracting us from being able to stay steadfast and focused on the present. They can cause us to condition
ourselves to maladaptive defenses of survival, like isolation, avoidance, anxiety, depression, drugs, and alcohol abuse.

How EMDR Therapy Works

How EMDR Therapy Works

EMDR Trauma Therapy offers a physiologically based therapy to view trauma in a new and less
distressing way. We desensitize the trauma and reprocess it towards a more adaptive resolution. 

Reinforcing Better Communication in the Brain

Bilateral stimulation activates electrical activity in a different area of the brain and encourages better communication between both sides of the brain utilizing visual, auditory, or tactile inputs. 

EMDR therapy reproduces neurophysiological conditions favorable for memory
integration in the associative neocortex. It weakens the perception of traumatic memory, reducing its vividness and inducing a sense of relaxation and safety, allowing for linkages to adaptive memory networks to form spontaneously.

EMDR Therapy Involves Eight Phases:
  1. History taking and treatment planning
  2. Preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body scan
  7. Closure
  8. Reevaluation

EMDR therapy can be sufficiently completed in 50-60 Minute Sessions. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy usually require between three and six sessions. More complex or longer-term traumas may take eight to 12 sessions or more. It may be used within a standard “talking” therapy, as adjunctive therapy, or as a single treatment approach. 

EMDR therapy involves less stress and homework and works faster than other therapy. EMDR focuses on processing and moving past trauma. Improvement in mental health results can be noticed far sooner.

This type of therapy also has very low risks. Common effects can include negative thoughts or feelings in between sessions. A therapist will inform the patient about what to expect and work collaboratively to process negative emotions as they arise. The EMDR therapist only acts as a guide to treating trauma. You are always fully awake and in control!

Adaptive Memory Networks

Human beings need adaptive networks to form the basis of health for learning, self-esteem, and other positive rewards and behaviors. 

Even the relationship between client and therapist requires an adaptive memory network to provide a therapeutic relationship. EMDR provides a three-pronged approach, connecting past incidents, present triggers, and future concerns or templates.

With EMDR treatment, I can securely provide my clients with a way to conquer their trauma. We work to resolve negative experiences causing maladaptive intrusions to impact their life with a viable and permanent resolution. 

Written by: Amanda Martinez, LSW, MBA, CADC, EMDR, CTP

Clarity Clinic

At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff specializing in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.

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