Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is not necessarily a form of psychotherapy that many people have heard of, but it’s certainly very well established. EMDR therapy in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and other major cities is already an option open to many who need it.
But what is EMDR? How does it work? How effective can it be? We’ll try to answer these questions below:
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy is a psychotherapy technique that was developed in particular to help people recover from traumatic experiences and the lingering effects they leave, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks and more. It is recognised by many international bodies as an effective form of treatment, including by the World Health Organization.
The practice was started by Francine Shapiro back in 1989. Shapiro had noticed that she felt her own negative emotions seemed to wane when she moved her own eyes rapidly from side to side. She tried it on several willing patients, in whom she found many positive results.
The idea behind EMDR therapy is that one can stimulate the brain’s natural post-trauma processing capabilities with rapid eye movements, thus promoting more rapid healing and recovery. The goal is to help transform a patient’s feelings about a trauma, converting a negative experience that feels impossible to get over into something that they can overcome.
For instance, victims of sexual assault or rape might feel governed by their own feelings of fear, horror, and disgust about what happened to them. EMDR might help them convert this into a feeling of strength having survived a real and dangerous ordeal. Such feeling triggers a more positive and empowering process of emotion.
What Makes EMDR Therapy Different?
The 2 main things people like about EMDR is the fact that first of all there’s no lengthy or detailed discussion required for it to work. Talk therapy is challenging because it requires patients to open up and articulate difficult, complex and sometimes incomprehensible emotional experiences. EMDR does not.
The second unique feature is that it’s a medication-free process. There’s no need for pills before or after, no anaesthesia…no drugs of any kind. The process of EMDR is also generally much shorter than more conventional therapies. A typical session is about 90 minutes, but the exact length could differ depending on someone’s individual needs.
What Type of Disorders Benefit from EMDR Therapy?
We already mentioned that people with PTSD and trauma-related issues can benefit from EMDR, but is that all? In fact, EMDR can be a useful therapy to help anxiety, depression, dissociative disorders, sleep less, substance abuse, victims of domestic violence, those experiencing grief or loss, personality disorders, eating disorders and many more.
Does EMDR Therapy Work?
Many people claim to have gained significant benefit from taking part in EMDR therapy. It has found particular success in helping sufferers of PTSD, as well as for others who are processing various kinds of trauma.
Furthermore, the transformative effects of EMDR have been felt to be especially effective because it’s a method that is trying hard to get to the roots of the mental problem in question, and not simply to attack the surface symptoms. It attempts to lift out the root of a trauma and convert it into something that the body and mind can use as part of its natural healing and processing ability.
One other benefit of EMDR posited by those who have used it is that EMDR has a lasting effect on how people learn to process difficult events in their lives. When one finds they have the capability to take a past trauma that may have been haunting them for many years and convert it into something empowering and inspiring to help them live better, they can start to do the same for other difficult events and traumas that happen.