Truly processing traumatic experiences
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR ) is a short and powerful form of psychotherapy to process distressing or traumatic experiences. During EMDR therapy the brain is stimulated using eye movements or rhythmic sounds in order for processing (of trauma) to occur. It’s a fairly recent form of therapy, established in 1989 by the American psychologist Francine Shapiro. The method has since been developed into a full-fledged therapy. Today the effectiveness has been scientifically proven and EMDR is extensively applied.
For whom is EMDR therapy suitable?
EMDR therapy is suitable for people who have had distressing, upsetting or traumatic experiences and are still suffering from the effects. These experiences may consist of single events such as an accident, rape, violent crime, medical procedure or loss, but also include long-term exposure to, for example, bullying, abuse, violence or war.
Such experiences may result in startle responses, anxiety disorders, nightmares, hyperventilation, phobias, panic attacks, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, but also feelings of depression, guilt, shame or sadness.
EMDR can also benefit people who have not experienced any specific traumatic events, but have been neglected, overprotected or criticized during childhood and suffer from associated social or emotional issues. EMDR may help to process and let go of your past once and for all. It often offers a solution if other therapies did not benefit much or if you simply do not want to talk about your problems anymore.
The practice of EMDR therapy
During an EMDR session you are actively thinking, under guidance of the therapist, about unprocessed or distressing experiences. Simultaneously you follow the side to side movement of the therapist’s hand, or listen to rhythmic clicks via headphones. This stimulates processing activities in the brain. It’s similar to what happens during REM sleep, but in this case you are fully awake. During the EMDR session everything related to the distressing experience is dealt with, without much talking. The experience is given a new place and its unpleasant effects disappear.
What is the effect of EMDR?
EMDR is a highly effective form of therapy. After only a few sessions you’ll notice results such as:
“The biggest crisis is also the biggest opportunity”