EMDR Therapy | What is it?
With the help of a trained EMDR clinician, clients find relief from a wide range of problems
EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a relatively new treatment technique that helps people replace traumatic events and memories with more positive emotions. Although EMDR is often used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other forms of trauma, it has also proven to be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, compulsive behaviors and addictions, all disorders that are often deeply rooted in trauma.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing was discovered in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro who was taking a walk as she was attempting to work through disturbing thoughts. She discovered that when she moved her eyes back and forth to view the landscape, the negative thoughts diminished. Dr. Shapiro was so intrigued that she continued to refine the technique and eventually founded the EMDR Institute in1990. Since that time, the technique has been studied and perfected, and many thousands of people have benefited.
EMDR: It isn’t junk science
EMDR is definitely different than other therapeutic techniques, but it has been thoroughly researched by scientists around the world. The technique is supported by the American Psychiatric Association, Veterans Services Administration, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA), all of which consider EMDR to be a sound, evidence-based treatment. According to psychiatrists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, studies indicate that when used as part of effective addiction treatment, EMDR increases the chances of successful recovery with decreases in relapse.
No quick fixes for trauma
People who think EMDR is a “quick fix” are mistaken – at least most of the time. Some clients claim their trauma has been eradicated after only one or two sessions, and this may be true in some cases. Most, however, benefit from lengthier treatment that peels away layers of built-up trauma. In general, it’s true that EMDR therapy is significantly quicker than traditional talk therapy; according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, four to 12 EMDR therapy sessions are common.
What happens in a typical EMDR session?
The first step in EMDR treatment is to pinpoint the traumatic memory, belief or image. The clinician will teach you to desensitize by focusing on those thoughts or images while doing specific eye movements. Once the negative thoughts begin to diminish, they can be replaced by positive thoughts. You will learn to focus on tension and other bodily sensations, and you will eventually be able to identify other issues you need to address.
Researchers know that EMDR works, but they aren’t sure why. Many believe that the eye movements are similar to the rapid eye movements that occur during REM sleep.
How can I contact clinicians trained in EMDR therapy?
Call Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 491-8009 to learn how our EMDR specialists can help you work through trauma or substance abuse. Our trained clinicians can help you process disturbing thoughts and memories and learn to replace them with new, more effective coping mechanisms. We are here to help!