EMDR Therapy

In recent years, many counselors have started using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) when working with those who are dealing with trauma. Developed in the 1990s, this relatively new approach has proven effective in helping survivors of trauma and those working through distressing events. Healthier Minds Licensed Professional Counselors are very excited to offer this effective counseling technique in an online setting where it can be available to a wider range of people. Keep reading to learn a little more about EMDR and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you want to schedule a consultation to discuss more of the specifics.

What is EMDR?

Simply put, EMDR is a counseling technique that helps people recover after trauma or distressing life events. We’ve learned that trauma actually changes the brain and body in real ways, so in order to completely heal from these difficult events, you have to repair the damage. While traditional talk therapy could take years to be effective, people who choose to move forward with EMDR often see dramatic improvement in just months or even weeks.

Who Can Benefit from EMDR?

EMDR was developed specifically with trauma in mind, but it has proven effective in addressing a number of concerns including:

  • Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Chronic pain and medical issues
  • Depression
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Sexual assault survivors
  • Survivors of domestic violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Sleep disorders

What Happens During EMDR Counseling Online?

Unlike other forms of talk therapy for trauma recovery, EMDR doesn’t require in depth discussions of the distressing experience or homework between sessions to change the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that stem from the traumatic event(s). Instead, EMDR sessions are specifically created to resolve unprocessed trauma and allow the brain and body to resume their natural healing processes. During EMDR, you will be asked to think about an image, memory, or event, and to notice the thoughts, emotions, and feelings in the body when you think of this event. Next, you’ll be asked to consider a positive belief or feeling that might occur if the situation were resolved. As you hold these ideas in your mind, guide you through sets of repeated movements through eye movement, sound, or tapping. After each set, we’ll discuss what comes to mind when you think of the situation again, as well as any changes you experience. This is repeated until the event starts to feel less disturbing. It’s important to remember that you can stop at any time if the experience is too intense and you need a break.

  • 9 in 10 people feel less Emotional Distress after just one session
  • Healthier Minds EMDR therapy has helped many people find relief from Emotional Distress – in as little as one session!
  • 9 in 10 people report a noticeable improvement… while 6 in 10 report a difference of at least 3 points (on a 10-point scale)!
  • What’s more, EMDR has been scientifically proven to be faster-acting, longer-lasting and more effective than traditional therapy and medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing Therapy. It was designed to alleviate distress associated with traumatic memories. EMDR therapy helps to access traumatic memories and facilitates the processing of these memories to bring them to an adaptive resolution. Successful EMDR treatment is characterised by the relief of distress, the reformulation of negative beliefs and a reduction in physiological arousal.

EMDR is one of the most well-researched mental health treatments, with hundreds of peer-reviewed studies conducted.

The research consistently demonstrates that EMDR is More effective, Faster-acting and Longer-lasting than other forms of treatment, including pills, drugs, talk therapy and holistic treatment:

* 7 in 10 studies of randomized controlled trials reported EMDR to be more rapid and more effective than trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
* Over 80% of PTSD patients suffering from single-incident trauma no longer had symptoms after only 3 EMDR sessions. Similarly, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD after just 12 sessions
* 50% of Depression patients treated with EMDR experienced full remission after just 4 to 12 sessions, compared to 25% of those who received other treatment

Today, EMDR is recommended and recognized by many international health authorities, including World Health Organization (WHO), US Veterans Affairs (VA), Dept of Defense, UK Dept of Health.

There have been over thirty studies of EMDR therapy which have had a positive outcome. Under this umbrella of controlled studies over 84% of single event trauma victims reported no post-traumatic stress after three ninety-minute sessions. An HMO study found that 100% of single event trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims were free from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD after six, fifty-minute sessions. In a similar study reports indicated 77% of combat veterans were free from PTSD in twelve sessions.

EMDR treatment would usually begin with several sessions which might involve stabilisation, grounding and psycho-education. The standard EMDR therapy protocol follows eight-phases which includes resourcing, processing and installation. This may vary depending on if you are having treatment for anxiety, PTSD, phobias or tinnitus. Processing is carried out using bilateral stimulation. This is facilitated by eye movements, auditory clicks, tapping or tactile vibration buzzers.

Having EMDR therapy as an adjunct therapy can be completed in one session. However, EMDR therapy is usually used in the wider context of therapy which includes a stabilisation and history taking phase so it is likely you will have a few therapy sessions which may or may not use EMDR specifically. Length of therapy also depends on how mush trauma you might be processing and the nature of that trauma. Most clients have more than one trauma to process.

In addition, PTSD is designed to desensitise anxiety related to traumatic memories not necessarily eliminate all PTSD symptoms. Therefore, EMDR is sometimes used in order to pave the way to regaining homeostasis as part of a wider treatment strategy.

Follow up assessments of people suffering from PTSD were carried out over varied follow up times. These were three, four, nine, fifteen and five years after treatment. Benefits of treatment were maintained in eight out of nine studies carried out. Other studies carried out found a deterioration of treatment benefits at follow up which correlated with incomplete EMDR treatment. It is clear that if treatment is completed benefits are maintained but if treatment is not completed benefits can deteriorate.

EMDR is quicker than more traditional forms of therapy and does not prolong trauma recall exposure which can sometimes be the case with other therapies. It also incorporates a number of elements from traditional therapeutic approaches. These include CBT, experiential and interactional therapies. The EMDR approach integrates strands of imagery, cognition, affect, related memories and somatic sensation.

Bilateral stimulation is stimuli which occur in a rhythmic left to right pattern. For example, visual bilateral stimulation might involve watching a finger or hand moving from left to right. Tactile stimulation would involve holding buzzers which vibrate alternately in each hand.

EMDR usually has a positive effect on a client’s experience of life. There are however some side effects which can manifest as a result of treatment. These might include new, un resolved memories that come into consciousness. Reactions can also occur in treatment which might include a high level of physical sensation and high level of emotions. Processing can also continue after a session ends. This can affect dreams, feelings and memories on a temporary basis.

The number of sessions is dependent on the trauma that needs to be processed and whether EMDR is being used in an adjunct way as part of another therapy or as a stand-alone treatment.

Processing trauma requires a brief history taking traumas so that the therapist knows what you require help with. This is a brief history where you are not expected to go into detail. Processing will require you to recall the traumatic incident however after processing disturbance levels are usually decreased.

Some people experience immediate benefits following EMDR therapy. For others processing takes a bit longer with a usually positive outcome.

Definitely! EMDR Online Therapy is designed for people with no prior experience of EMDR. The program is intuitive, easy-to-follow and comes with full instructional videos and examples.

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Take a look at our extensive Patient Education Library. You can read about your condition and treatment options we have available. If you are unsure about the options, give us a call. Our staff is readily available for questions you may have.

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