EMDR is a therapeutic approach to trauma desensitization and reprocessing. This therapy can help you overcome painful past experiences, and thus rewire your brain, move forward and find greater well-being and quality of life.
The approach was developed in the US in the late 1980s by Dr. Francine Shapiro. Basically, EMDR works like REM sleep – the stage of sleep where your eyes move from side to side as you dream. In the same way that quality sleep helps your brain make sense of the day and download information into your long-term memory, EMDR therapy can help you work through and process old memories or traumas. We are the best emdr therapist in London.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which means desensitization and reprocessing through eye movement. EMDR therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist, in 1987. It is a psychotherapy based on the Adaptive Information Processing Model and was initially used for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Currently, it has also been effective in treating other psychological health disorders, such as Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders or Addictions.
This model considers that the symptoms of psychological disorders are the result of past disturbing experiences , which continue to generate suffering , since the memory has not been adequately processed. Thus, these unprocessed memories contain emotions, physical sensations, thoughts and beliefs (disturbing elements) that arose at the time of the traumatic event or adverse life experience. Whenever these memories are activated, the person re-experiences the associated disturbing elements and the symptoms of PTSD or other psychological health disorders appear. In this context, EMDR therapy will allow access and processing of traumatic memories, enabling an adaptive resolution, reducing suffering and modifying negative beliefs.
In this way, EMDR therapy helps you overcome – and heal – your disturbing or traumatic past. Understand that many life experiences, even if not so complex, can be registered by the brain as trauma. To help you reach the REM-type processing state, bilateral stimulation is used. This stimulation can be performed through bilateral eye movements, with the aid of lights or even bilateral sounds.
What are the benefits of EMDR therapy?
EMDR Therapy allows access to the traumatic memory network, through bilateral sensory stimulation (ocular, auditory and/or tactile), to improve information processing, with new associations between traumatic memory and more adaptive memories.
By stimulating the natural action of memory processing through eye movement, EMDR makes it possible to access and “reprocess” your traumatic memories and deep core beliefs.
Initially, the approach was used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), such as sexual abuse, rape, war trauma, assaults, natural disasters and other types of violence.
Today, however, it is applied to the treatment of anxiety , depression, insecurity, fears, traumas, phobias, panic disorder , personal relationship problems, low self-esteem, sleep disorders, installation of positive resources and improvement in personal and professional development.
How EMDR therapy works
The technique, which goes through eight phases, is based on the approach of the AIP model – Adaptive Information Processing or Adaptive Information Processing, focusing on the following points:
- a) past events that may have induced unpleasant/disturbing feelings;
- b) current physical and emotional experiences, which act as triggers, and
- c) future possibilities for the client.
The treatment steps go through the collection of information, clinical history, complaints and symptoms of the patient; elaboration of a treatment plan; preparing the client with guidance on therapy and definition of the initial target; desensitization and reprocessing of traumatic memory; among other important steps for closing the process.
The number of sessions depends on the evolution of the treatment and the need is assessed jointly by the therapist and patient.
EMDR is widely known for producing fast results. Many people report feeling a difference after the first session!.
EMDR patients also reported greater symptom reduction, i.e. greater efficacy compared to other treatment.
Some also report improvement in physical symptoms (such as chronic pain). These positive benefits are often felt even after ONE session.
the end result
EMDR therapy is a way to help the brain heal from old wounds. It allows you to resolve your worries so that you no longer have to do mental gymnastics when your painful past has been triggered by something.
David Grand argues that the brain has the ability to heal itself from intractable memories, emotions and beliefs, just as the body can heal itself from physical injuries. The author also highlights that we do not need to accept that we are “stuck for life” with painful symptoms, low self-esteem or negative speeches that constantly echo in our minds.
Research and EMDR
EMDR is a well-researched mental health treatments. Studies consistently indicate that EMDR is more effective, faster acting, and longer lasting than other forms of treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, and traditional therapies.
Details of EMDR research studies on combat veterans, trauma victims, and patients with depression are widely available online.
Consider trying EMDR therapy, which can only be applied by an EMDR therapist properly trained by an authorized and recognized course.
EMDR therapy can help rewire your brain and empower you to overcome past hurts so you can find the well-being you deserve and live your values and life goals. To learn more about the approach and its benefits, schedule a session with Gisele Mezabarba, clinical psychologist and EMDR Therapist, certified by the EMDR Institute and member of the Brazilian Association of EMDR.