The Benefits of EMDR Therapy
A photo of a caucasian woman demonstrating how EMDR uses eye movement.

In the realm of trauma therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has emerged as a transformative approach to healing. Developed in the 1980s, it has steadily gained recognition for its effectiveness in addressing traumatic memories and their associated symptoms. So, what exactly is EMDR, and why is it beneficial for clients seeking relief from trauma?

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a mouthful that encapsulates its core processes. Essentially, it is a trauma treatment modality designed to target and reprocess traumatic memories stored in the brain. When trauma memories are stored in a dysfunctional way it can cause us pain and mental health issues.

How Does it Work?

When someone experiences trauma, their brain stores the memory differently from ordinary experiences. Traumatic memories often trigger intense emotional and physical responses, leading to symptoms like flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and emotional distress. EMDR works by accessing these traumatic memories and facilitating their reprocessing through a structured protocol.

What Can I Expect?

During an EMDR session, the therapist guides the client in recalling the traumatic memory while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation. To put it simply, bilateral stimulation is when your body gets sensation on both the right and left sides of the body and both brain hemispheres. Eye movements, tactile sensations, or auditory cues are all examples of bilateral stimulation. A therapist may have you put on headphones for sound, or have you watch a light bar to stimulate your sight. Bilateral stimulation help us reprocess the traumatic memory, or allows it to integrate into our brain rather than being “stuck”. When your memories are processed correctly in your brain, you will feel better emotionally and mentally. Flashbacks, for example, are an indication a memory has not processed correctly in your brain.

A picture of a therapist with a model of the brain explaining to a client how EMDR taps into her brain's abiility to heal.
EMDR is highly connected to your brain.

Why is EMDR Beneficial?

  • Efficiency: EMDR has been lauded for its efficiency in alleviating symptoms associated with trauma. Unlike traditional talk therapy, which may take years to yield results, EMDR often produces noticeable improvements in a relatively short period, making it a preferred choice for many clients.
  • Holistic Healing: EMDR focuses on the interconnectedness between the brain and the body. By incorporating bilateral stimulation and somatic awareness, it addresses trauma on both cognitive and physiological levels, promoting holistic healing.
  • Empowerment: EMDR empowers clients to actively participate in their healing journey. Rather than passively recounting traumatic experiences, clients engage in the reprocessing of memories, leading to a sense of agency and control over their own recovery process.
  • Customized Approach: EMDR therapy is highly adaptable to individual needs and preferences. Therapists tailor the treatment protocol to suit each client’s unique experiences and sensitivities, ensuring a personalized approach to healing.
  • Lasting Results: Many individuals who have EMDR therapy report sustained improvements in their symptoms even after completing therapy. By reprocessing traumatic memories in your brain, where they were created, this therapy creates long-term healing and resilience.

In conclusion, EMDR therapy offers a promising pathway to healing for individuals grappling with the aftermath of trauma. By unlocking the brain’s innate capacity for healing, EMDR facilitates transformative changes that extend beyond symptom relief to encompass true mental wellness. As more individuals discover the benefits of it, the landscape of trauma therapy continues to evolve, offering hope and healing to those in need.

If you are struggling with trauma, you may benefit from EMDR. Our highly trained trauma therapists are here to help. Contact us to learn more, learn about our therapists, or get started by booking an appointment today!