Several independent and controlled studies have revealed that EMDR therapy is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A 2012 study on 22 people found out that their hallucinations, anxiety, and depression symptoms were significantly reduced after EMDR therapy. It was also reported that symptoms were not exacerbated during the treatment.
What is EMDR therapy?
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used in the relief of psychological stress. During the EMDR sessions, the patient relives a traumatic or triggering experience in brief doses while the therapist directs the eye movements. EMDR is considered to be effective because when a patient recalls a distressing experience, it is usually less upsetting when the attention is diverted. Memories and thoughts are revealed without a strong psychological response.
The 8 different phases of EMDR therapy
- Phase 1 – the therapist will review the patient’s history to decide on the treatment process. This initial phase is also called the evaluation process where the patient is encouraged to talk about the trauma and identify potential traumatic memories that have been specifically treated.
- Phase 2 – the therapist helps the patient learn various ways to cope up with the emotional and psychological stress that is being experienced. The therapist may recommend stress management techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness.
- Phase 3 – the therapist will try to identify specific memories that will be targeted including any related factors like physical sensations that are stimulated when concentrating on an experience.
- Phases 4 to 7 – these are the treatment phases. The therapist will use EMDR therapy techniques on the targeted memories. During the treatment sessions, the patient has to focus on a negative thought, memory, or image while making specific eye movements. Bilateral stimulation could include taps or other movements depending on the patient.
After the bilateral stimulation, the therapist will ask the patient to let his mind go blank and take note of his feelings and thoughts. After the patient has identified his thoughts, the therapist may ask the patient to refocus on the traumatic experience or move on to another memory.
If the patient becomes distressed, the therapist has to bring him back to the present before moving on to another memory. The distress over the particular memory thought or image will start to fade over time.
- Phase 8 – the therapist will evaluate the progress of the treatment after the sessions.
Studies have revealed that EMDR is a more effective treatment to traumatic stress than prolonged exposure therapy. There is also a lower rate of dropouts in EMDR therapy than in other treatments. Patients have maintained reduced symptoms of PTSD long after the treatment has ended. Compared to the standard treatment provided to PTSD patients, it was found out that the EMDR therapy is significantly more efficient in reducing the symptoms of PTSD.
People who are experiencing a range of trauma-related issues or challenges in early addiction recovery are invited to visit emdrtherapylondon.com for the right support. You will learn how to cope up with the issues that brought you to therapy. EMDR therapy is quick and effective with long-lasting results.