Studies have consistently shown that EMDR can provide the benefits of psychotherapy much faster than traditional methods that could take years. It challenges the common assumption that severe emotional pain requires an extended healing process. Instead, EMDR therapy reveals that the mind can recover from psychological trauma, akin to the body healing from physical injuries.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach designed to help individuals recover from emotional distress resulting from traumatic life experiences.
Imagine cutting your hand; your body naturally works to close the wound. If the wound is aggravated or obstructed, it festers and causes pain. Similarly, when a disturbing event disrupts the mind's information processing system, emotional wounds can fester, leading to intense suffering. EMDR therapy demonstrates that once the emotional block is removed, the natural healing process resumes. By following specific protocols learned in EMDR training, therapists assist clients in activating their innate healing mechanisms.
Numerous studies support EMDR therapy, with some revealing remarkable results. For instance, research indicates that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer exhibit post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms after only three 90-minute EMDR sessions. Another study, funded by Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute EMDR sessions. Combat veterans also showed substantial improvement, with 77% no longer experiencing PTSD symptoms after 12 sessions.
EMDR therapy's efficacy is widely recognized by esteemed organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense. Its success in treating trauma makes it a valuable tool for addressing everyday memories that contribute to low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and various other issues that prompt people to seek therapy. Over the past 33 years, more than 100,000 clinicians worldwide have used EMDR therapy to successfully treat millions of individuals.
EMDR therapy follows an eight-phase treatment process, utilizing eye movements or other bilateral stimulation during certain phases. The therapist first conducts a history-taking session, assessing the client's readiness and developing a treatment plan. Using the EMDR protocol, the therapist guides the client through sets of bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements) while maintaining focus on specific elements for processing. As the session progresses, clients naturally integrate new insights and transform the meaning of painful events, reprocessing the traumatic event.
EMDR therapy involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. It addresses past traumatic memories, current distressing situations, and equips clients with the skills needed for a positive future. The duration of treatment varies depending on the number of traumas and when PTSD symptoms first appeared.
Overall, EMDR therapy offers a structured and effective approach to healing emotional wounds, providing clients with the tools to overcome their distress and enhance their emotional well-being.