How EMDR Therapy Can Help
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR therapy, is a relatively new form of psychotherapy that has been gaining popularity. As a type of talk therapy, EMDR has effectively treated various mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Read on for the benefits of EMDR therapy and how it can help improve your mental health.
If you have PTSD and need guidance and support regarding treatment, contact Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439. Our accredited and certified mental health professionals specialize in many evidence-based therapies for trauma, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and EMDR. We can provide you with the resources and support needed to heal from your trauma and live a healthier, happier life.
What Is EMDR Therapy, and How Does It Work?
Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist, developed EMDR therapy in the 1980s to help reduce anxiety and stressful thoughts. This form of therapy is based on the idea that the brain stores distressing memories in a fragmented fashion and that the trauma is often relived or “re-experienced” in the present moment.
EMDR therapy is typically conducted by a trained therapist who guides you through eye movements or other bilateral stimulation exercises as you focus on a specific trauma memory or event. By encouraging you to do these tasks simultaneously, EMDR therapy is thought to help “reprocess” the trauma so that you develop healthier coping mechanisms. You can choose to receive this treatment as in-person or online therapy.
What Does EMDR Do to the Brain?
Experts are still investigating the mechanism by which EMDR therapy works, but there is evidence that it alters how the brain processes information.
One of the primary ways EMDR therapy appears to work is by helping process difficult memories. These memories can be unconsciously stored in the brain and cause emotional stress responses. EMDR advocates theorize that all humans have an internal information processing system that helps us learn from new experiences and store them in our existing memory banks for later adaptation.
The Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model suggests that when an event or experience happens, it processes via our brain’s information processing system. This allows us to make meaning of the event and store it in our memory. However, overwhelming events can disrupt this process, leaving the brain to store the memory in a dysfunctional way. Nonstandard storage can result in distorted negative thoughts, emotions, and sensations linked to past experiences. By reprocessing these target memories with EMDR therapy, it is thought that the AIP can be re-trained to store information more adaptively.
Thus EMDR can be an effective way to treat trauma victims since it helps to stimulate the brain’s healing mechanisms or coping strategies. When we experience a traumatic event, our brain goes into “fight or flight” mode. This mode allows us to survive in dangerous situations, but we can also get stuck in this mode after a traumatic experience. Getting stuck can lead to symptoms such as flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and hypervigilance.
EMDR therapy also appears to help regulate emotions by promoting neuroplasticity in corresponding brain regions.
The Benefits of EMDR Therapy
Several benefits have been associated with the phases of EMDR therapy. These include:
- Relief from PTSD symptoms
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Reduced depression
- Improved wellness and self-esteem
If you are struggling with mental health issues and are looking for an effective treatment option, Zinnia Healing can help. We evaluate each client individually to create a treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. Contact us today at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about our services and how we can help you heal.
How EMDR Therapy Can Help Improve Mental Health
This form of trauma-related therapy can help improve mental health by:
- Allowing individuals to process and make sense of traumatic memories or life experiences in a more adaptive way
- Reducing PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptoms after several therapy sessions by reinforcing positive emotional responses to past trauma
- Helping individuals develop positive beliefs about themselves and their world
- Enhancing performance in work or other activities
Who Should Consider EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy can be an effective treatment for anyone who has experienced a traumatic event or suffers from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Some of the conditions that EMDR effectively treats include:
- Eating disorders
- Anger management issues
- Performance anxiety
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Drawbacks of EMDR
Despite its many benefits, EMDR is not a perfect therapy. You should be aware of some potential drawbacks before beginning treatment. These include:
- Limited research: While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness of EMDR, there is still limited scientific research. This means that insurance companies may not cover the cost of treatment, and it may only be available in some areas. In addition, limited research suggests that the therapy’s side effects are still unknown.
- Trauma-focused: EMDR is most effective in treating trauma and anxiety. If you are experiencing another mental health issue, such as depression, you may not find adequate relief with this therapy.
- The process is theoretical: The mechanism by which EMDR is thought to work is still largely theoretical. While some evidence supports the theory, it has not been proven.
How to Find a Therapist Who Offers EMDR Therapy
If you are interested in beginning EMDR treatment, the first step is to find a qualified therapist. You can search for therapists in your area who offer EMDR therapy. Several options are available, including:
- The EMDR International Association: This website provides a directory of EMDR therapists who are trained on the topic.
- The American Psychological Association: The APA’s website offers a directory of licensed psychologists and clinicians in your area.
If your body has difficulty coping with negative experiences, EMDR therapy can be an effective treatment to help you heal. This therapy can also be helpful for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. While there is still limited scientific research on the efficacy of EMDR, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support its use. If you are interested in learning about EMDR therapy or beginning treatment, be sure to find a qualified therapist in your area.
For those needing immediate help or reevaluation, trained medical professionals at Zinnia Healing can provide guidance and support. Our healthcare centers offer a wide range of services covering all mental health issues. We can look at your individual situation and help you find the resources you need to get on the road to recovery. Contact us today at (855) 430-9439.