A Guide to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

A Guide to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Psychotherapy is and will forever be a cornerstone of quality comprehensive treatment programs. However, while psychotherapy is effective, it may not work for all people who enter a drug or mental health treatment program. Fortunately, there are different forms of psychotherapy that may provide the spark needed for people to turn their lives around. One of the most unique forms of psychotherapy is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

If you are unfamiliar with EMDR treatment, this article is a great introduction to this exciting form of psychotherapy. As a top-tier outpatient drug rehab in Indiana, The Parkdale Center offers high-quality and evidence-based treatment programs specifically designed for business professionals. We employ proven holistic approaches that heal clients in mind, body, and spirit. Call The Parkdale Center toll-free right now and transform your life.

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (also commonly known as EMDR therapy) is a form of psychotherapy that allows people to heal from the distress that results from traumatic life events. This dynamic form of therapy centers around specific eye movements as people process the traumatic events that happen in their lives. EMDR treatment is relatively new; the first clinical trials occurred in the late 1980s. This form of therapy is commonly used in mental health treatment, especially for conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy differs from other forms of psychotherapy in the fact that clients don’t need to talk in detail about traumatic events. Instead, EMDR focuses on helping clients change their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts associated with traumatic experiences. It is believed that traumatic memories are stored in the mind in a way that does not promote healing. When people experience new and similar events, it can reinforce those negative memories and make them stronger over time.

With EMDR therapy, people access those memories through a series of eye movements and guided instruction from a therapist. When those memories are accessed, people are able to properly process what happened and can manage what they feel.

How Does EMDR Treatment Work?

EMDR treatment is an involved treatment consisting of eight phases. Depending on the specific traumatic event, clients can expect to be in treatment between 6 to 12 sessions with each session lasting 90 minutes. The phases of EMDR therapy are as follows:

  1. History and Information Gathering: The therapist works with the client to gather information about the patient and their past. During this initial phase, the therapist will find a specific traumatic event to focus on for treatment.
  2. Preparation and Education: The therapist will talk with the client to outline the treatment process and what can be expected. Additionally, the therapist will provide the client with coping and visualization tools that will help them during the course of treatment.
  3. Assessment: The therapist works with the client on the specific events they want to focus on and the negative beliefs that keep them stuck. There is also a focus on positive outcomes the client hopes to achieve.
  4. Reprocessing: The therapist helps the client identify the negative emotions, beliefs, thoughts, and body sensations they feel when specific memories about the traumatic events are brought to the surface.
  5. Introducing the Positive Belief or Goal: The therapist helps introduce the positive memory or belief the client wants to build on.
  6. Body Scan: The therapist will have the client focus on how their body feels when they experience the traumatic memory. With each session, the negative sensations the client feels should decrease.
  7. Stabilization: The therapist will help the client learn to stabilize themself if they feel unease. The client is encouraged to write down new thoughts they have about their traumatic memories so they can be addressed at the next session.
  8. Re-evaluation: In this phase, the therapist will review the client’s progress and determine whether additional sessions are needed.

While eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is still a new therapy, there is a growing body of work showing its effectiveness. Its advantages lie in the fact that clients don’t have to journal or do “homework” with this therapy. However, EMDR therapy is only truly effective if a client is dealing with a past traumatic event. If a client has an inherited mental illness or has an illness due to a brain injury, EMDR therapy will not be effective.

Conquer Trauma Today With Help From Parkdale Center

Trauma and other forms of mental illness slowly destroy lives. If you are in need of mental health treatment, Parkdale Center can help you. Our outpatient drug and alcohol rehab for professionals offers evidence-based mental health and substance abuse treatment specifically designed for people with significant professional responsibilities. Our dedicated treatment team will work with you in restoring your mind, body, and spirit while giving you the tools you need to transform your life.

Call Parkdale Center toll-free today and find lasting recovery.

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