Today we'll take a deep dive into this highly beneficial resource and discuss how it can benefit your recovery from trauma.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is an advanced type of psychotherapeutic treatment. Originally developed in 1988 by Francine Shapiro, EMDR works to help people heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that have resulted from traumatic experiences.
Is EMDR Safe? Is It Effective?
Absolutely! EMDR therapy has been extensively researched over the past few decades and has been shown to be an effective treatment for PTSD and other disorders such as anxiety and depression. Also, EMDR therapy has far fewer side effects than other frequently sought treatments, like prescription psychotropic medications.
In fact, multiple national and international health organizations have recognized EMDR therapy as an effective treatment method. These authorities include the World Health Organization, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and there are many others.
How Does EMDR Work?
During an EMDR therapy session, you will be prompted to recall your traumatic memory in brief doses while you work through a series of bilateral eye movements with your therapist. It is believed that EMDR works because the bilateral stimulation bypasses the areas of the brain that have become stuck due to the trauma.
This may help you process your trauma in a healthy way that leads to a peaceful resolution. You may even gain increased insight regarding your traumatic events and your long-held negative beliefs that have developed from the original event(s).
An EMDR treatment plan will be divided into eight different phases:
- History and treatment planning – A thorough review of your medical history to identify the specific trauma affecting you.
- Preparation – A discussion of your trauma, during which you'll talk through an overview of your treatment plan.
- Assessment – Identify the triggers of your emotional distress and the associated memories.
- Desensitization – This is the first stage of treatment. Your therapist will try to help you change the way your brain associates trauma with its trigger.
- Installation – Your therapist will work with you to replace a negative belief with a positive one, deeply into your thought process.
- Body scan – As you mentally “scan” from one part of your body progressively to the next, your therapist will identify when and where the traumatic event elicits a somatic response and help control that reaction.
- Closure – You'll receive coaching on stress reduction techniques and how to best manage disturbances when they occur.
- Evaluation – The treatment's effectiveness will be evaluated, and your therapist will develop a plan for any follow-up sessions (if needed).
It may take roughly 8-12 sessions to work through these phases outlined above.
Key Considerations for EMDR Therapy in Chicago
As mentioned earlier, EMDR therapy is a safe treatment option and comes with little-to-no side effects. However, it is worth noting that EMDR may cause light-headedness and may also cause vivid, realistic dreams. This is because this treatment of trauma heightens your awareness of thinking, even after a session ends.
The beginning phases and sessions of EMDR may also be triggering for some individuals. The therapy will likely benefit you greatly in the long run, but prepare for some emotional distress throughout your treatment, too. Don’t worry, you’ll be supported by a trained professional in trauma and recovery.
It is for these reasons that EMDR treatments are not for everyone. Traditional talk therapy and trauma counseling are other excellent routes to take for processing and overcoming traumatic experiences.
It's best to speak with a psychotherapist first to determine if you're a good candidate for EMDR therapy.
Start Your Healing Process with Wellington Counseling Group
If you're looking for an effective treatment for trauma, you've come to the right place.
At Wellington Counseling Group, we have several trauma specialists on staff with extensive backgrounds in treating PTSD, depression, panic attacks, and more. In our safe environment, we'll provide personalized therapeutic techniques to help you process and overcome your trauma symptoms.
Contact Wellington Counseling Group today to learn more about EMDR therapy in Chicago and start your healing journey.