Why Do You Need EMDR Therapy After a Trauma?

Updated on September 24, 2021

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., in 1987. The technique is an eight-phase approach to therapy that helps your brain reprocess memories more effectively, so they are no longer disturbing or intrusive. 

Experts use EMDR therapy with people who have experienced a single traumatic event or people who have survived multiple traumas in childhood, adulthood, or military service.

Benefits of EMDR

EMDR has helped patients gain more control over their lives and the ability to feel at ease with others, attain greater work satisfaction and improve their relationships through reprocessing memories that may be holding them back from reaching their goals.

 Reprocess Overwhelming Memories

EMDR Therapy can also help people reprocess overwhelming memories from the past in a controlled environment. It has been proven effective by thousands of therapists worldwide and is recognized as an effective treatment for PTSD, anxiety disorders, phobias, chronic pain, and more.

MDR is Safe

EMDR has no adverse side effects. There are no reports of any long-term problems associated with the therapy. Several research papers and abstracts of this technique are now available online. 

EMDR has also been included as an effective treatment for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Based on Expert Guidelines

EMDR is listed as an effective therapy in the practice guidelines for more than 25 disorders by the World Health Organization (WHO) and on almost every list developed by task forces on psychological treatments, including those published by the Departments of Defense, Veteran Affairs, and Justice; American Psychiatric Association; American Psychological Association; and, Anxiety Disorders Association of America. 

EMDR for Anxiety

EMDR has been effective in treating anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. The initial goal of the therapy is to process through the event(s) until they no longer cause distress.

EMDR for Depression 

It is believed that the inability to process and move past distressing events in your life is one of the underlying causes of depression. Scientific studies show that EMDR can help people process these memories, which helps clients gain more control over their lives and make sense of their experiences.

EMDR for Addiction 

Addiction is a complex disease to treat, but scientists have uncovered elements that lead to addictive behaviors. Many therapists are using EMDR Therapy to help clients reprocess traumatic memories that lead them to use drugs or alcohol, engage in self-harm behaviors, or seek out risky sexual encounters as coping mechanisms in the first place.  

Your brain, nervous system, and organs may be wired to addictive tendencies. But, EMDR can help your body cope better.

EMDR for Couple and Family Therapy 

EMDR is effective in helping people process memories that may be adversely affecting their relationships. A specific event or instance may activate the same memory networks.  

EMDR can help people reprocess memories involving family members, partners, and friends. The therapist can then offer advice on ways to calm the emotions that often interfere with relationships.

Hence, the technique helps people identify and break harmful behavior patterns learned over the years. Family counseling is the way to go if multiple family members sustain distress from a single event. 

For instance, if the family lost a child or other member to accidental death or terminal disease, all members are bound to be affected. The therapist may also use other techniques like CBT and individual or group counseling to improve the therapy’s effectiveness.

EMDR therapy or other similar techniques may not work the same way for all patients. The therapist will first assess your physical and mental health condition before starting treatment. The number of sessions and the duration of each varies depending on the type and severity of your condition.

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