EMDR for Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Psychological trauma is a struggle for anyone.

When bad things take place, it’s hard to get back to a safe space. This point is where therapy can help you, and among your many options is EMDR therapy.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is one of the well-known therapy techniques out there. This interactive approach is an effective treatment to help people suffering from trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How does it help you? How effective is EMDR in helping deal with your pains?

Today, we’ll take a good look at EMDR therapy and how it can help alleviate your suffering. We’ll look at its potential benefits to you and if this intervention is for you.

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a psychotherapy technique that helps relieve psychological stress. It’s effective in helping people suffering from PTSD and trauma.

So, how does it work?

When performing EMDR therapy, your counsellor will help you go through traumatic experiences.

Your therapist will help you relive through the traumatic experiences in controlled doses. They then direct your eye movements, helping divert your attention.

By diverting your attention, the emotional triggers upset you less.

This type of exposure to the memories lets you go through the process. It reduces stronger emotions to push back for burdensome anxieties. Experts believe the memories can impact you much less too over many sessions.

Francine Shapiro developed EMDR therapy in the early 90s. At the time, she noticed that some eye movements reduced the intensity of stressors.

The process underwent several controversies within the psychology community. Even then, its efficacy after further refinement made it beneficial.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR sessions come into eight different phases or multiple sessions.

The first phase involves learning your history and planning your journey. Here, your therapist will listen to your traumas, identifying potential trigger memories.

From here, your counsellor will help prepare your journey. Every therapist will have a way to help you cope with your stressors and past experiences.

They will provide stress management options, including yoga, breathing techniques, and mindfulness. These will help establish a long-term solution that you work during the process.

They will prime you for the sessions, with the therapist identifying target memories. Then they’ll work with you to isolate physical sensations associated with the stresses.

How the Actual EMDR Sessions Work

A typical EMDR therapy session lasts around 1.5 hours.

Your counsellor will direct you to follow their tasks to the letter within the session. These tasks can be anything from following their fingers and hand motions to audio cues.

At this point, your therapist will ask you to recall some memories that are triggering you. Reliving these disturbing events will trigger all your sensations and rouse your emotions.

The entire process will put you back into the same position, reliving even the feeling on your skin.

From here, the counsellor will guide you through more pleasant memories.

They will also incorporate their specific techniques that help immerse you in sensations. This process will continue, with the process becoming more targeted through the following sessions.

An evaluation happens at the end of the therapy sessions to look at your current progress.

Understanding the Benefits of EMDR For Trauma and PTSD

Much of EMDR targets distress associated with traumatic events. Its primary use is in helping with trauma and PTSD, but it can also help with:

• Panic attacks
• Depression
• Anxiety triggers
• Addictive behaviours
• Eating disorders

Different independent studies show that EMDR is an effective type of intervention for PTSD.

The US Department of Veteran Affairs endorses it as one of their recommended options. Veterans Affairs Canada notes that it’s one of three recommended psychotherapies to their operators.

Veteran Affairs recommends EMDR for its military and non-military population.

It is as effective or more effective than other treatment systems in many situations.

As many operators are unable to discuss much of their experiences in detail, EMDR is perfect for them.

The American Psychological Association recommends EMDR as a recommended treatment for PTSD. The APA specifies that the process is perfect for people who are having a hard time sharing their experiences.

People unable to talk about their experiences use it to deflates stress. It also helps provides an outlet for the memories.

Some earlier studies note the ability of EMDR to treat symptoms through its long-term exposure. It has lower dropout rates, which leads to better success rates. It is efficient in handling symptoms and maintains its benefits in the long run.

What to Expect in an EMDR Therapy Session

EMDR is safe for anyone to do.

It does not have any drawbacks, being a part of England’s NICE evidence-based guidelines since 2005. It has much fewer side effects than prescription medication, but it is not without minor side effects.

For starters, EMDR therapies do not work overnight. The entire process works over a span of many sessions, with effects being slow and gradual. It can have positive effects in the short run, but it works best over many sessions.

Expect a heightened sense of awareness after a session and even sometime after.

As EMDR tries to handle the symptoms of PTSD and trauma, expect more vivid imagery. Dreams will be more realistic, which can be problematic during the early periods of the sessions.

The early phases of the therapy can also feel more disturbing. The heightened senses can be painful, and dealing with the traumatic memories is going to be painful.

The emotional stress can be too much to some people, but it’s best to see it through overtime.

It’s best to talk to an expert therapist who can guide you through the entire process. They’ll help you make different approaches that can help you handle the whole experience.

Check if EMDR is Right for You

EMDR is one of the most beneficial psychotherapy techniques for trauma and PTSD.

It is 100% safe and proven to work, helping the afflicted to cope through long-term therapy sessions.

If you are having a hard time dealing with PTSD, talk to your qualified therapist and ask if EMDR is right for you. The benefits of EMDR can help you handle triggers in your memories. Make an appointment with a licensed therapist from Capital Choice Counselling today.

Capital Choice Counseling has been serving Kanata, Ottawa, and nearby areas since 2006. Start the process of recovery today by booking your first session of EMDR therapy in Ottawa.