If you have been struggling with symptoms of PTSD or the effects of exposure to traumatic events, you likely have found EMDR as a potential treatment. But what is EMDR therapy? Read this post to learn more about this common trauma treatment.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Therefore, EMDR is an evidence based treatment to help traumatic memories. This approach to treatment allows people to get relief with minimal talking about the trauma. Instead, your therapist will ask you what you noticed after each section of bilateral movement. You can say as much or as little as you choose.
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR uses bilateral movement to help you reprocess memories. This is similar to dream sleep. While you dream, your eyes move back and forth as you reprocess events. Similarly, EMDR uses the back and forth movement to reprocess memories that your mind stored “improperly.” Your brain is doing all the work. Thus, your therapist is a guide during these sessions.
Can I Do EMDR Myself?
While there are apps and other ways to do bilateral stimulation yourself, it is not recommended. As your guide during EMDR, your therapist helps keep you grounded in the present while exploring the past. Also, she helps moderate your reaction so you do not become flooded. Attempting EMDR on your own risks triggering reactions that you cannot control alone.
What Training Do Therapists Have for EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapists attend training beyond their master’s degree programs. Typically, EMDR basic training consists of 2 separate weekends with time in between to practice the skills. In the process of training, therapists experience first hand how EMDR works from your perspective in addition to learning how to lead you through the treatment.
Following this basic training, therapists can choose to take advanced trainings to learn specific ways to use EMDR outside of trauma treatment. Additionally, therapists can pursue certification through EMDRIA to further show their experience in this area of counseling.
What Are the Risks of EMDR?
While EMDR is proven to be effective in the treatment of PTSD and other mental health concerns, there are certain risks. The following are some of the most common risks of EMDR:
- An increase in distressing memories or uncovering new memories
- Vivid dreams
- Fatigue or increased energy
- Heightened emotions
Talk to your therapist about any side effects you experience during EMDR therapy.
So EMDR Is Not Just For Trauma?
Nope! EMDR addresses a variety of concerns including depression, specific phobias, eating disorders, and so many other things which bring people to therapy. If you’re interested in talking more about how EMDR can help you specifically, schedule a free consultation or learn more about Earthsong Counseling, PLLC’s counseling services.