Why EMDR is Effective in Treating Trauma

Why EMDR is Effective in Treating Trauma

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing  (EMDR) is a therapeutic protocol used in the treatment of mental and emotional trauma. Agencies such as the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are strong advocates of this method of treatment.

Those suffering from PTSD caused by major traumas such as sexual, physical assault, or combat experiences, can benefit from EMDR therapy. Sessions work to alleviate PTSD symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, angry outbursts, difficulties sleeping and concentrating. This also includes feelings of depression and isolation.

Recent research has pointed to the fact that PTSD can also result from less dramatic life events, such as hurtful experiences during childhood. Additionally, there are some cases where these can cause even more symptoms of PTSD than major traumas like combat or terrorist attacks.

Once trauma is experienced, there is a disruption in how the brain processes information. In a “normal” brain that has not experienced a shocking event, processing systems digest information about what is being experienced and make appropriate connections. Reactions to the event that are no longer useful, releases any physical and emotional sensations.

However, when an individual experiences a traumatic event, this processing system is disrupted and negative memories and emotions, as well as physical sensations and beliefs, are stored in the brain. These stored traumatic interpretations mingle with current events to color them negatively. In short, the past becomes the present.

The Benefit of EMDR Therapy

EMDR is an effective protocol to treat these unprocessed past memories that are poisoning the present. EMDR is able to remove the anxiety, fear and sadness that cause individuals to avoid or overreact to situations.

This therapeutic technique allow individuals to identify early memories that are the root of their problems and change their emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations surrounding them. EMDR can also help people achieve desired goals by understanding why they do what they do and how they can manage life and their own behaviors better.

EMDR is used to treat a variety of issues including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Complicated grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Addictions
  • Sexual and/or Physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality Disorders

If you or a loved one suffer from any of the above and believe you may benefit from EMDR, please contact me. I would be happy to discuss how I and this particular therapy approach might help.

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