Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, or any other form of mental health issue, the key to success is finding the right treatment. As any patient will discover, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution available. Some people find that they need a special kind of talk therapy to deal with a specific symptom, like a recurring nightmare. Others might turn to cognitive behavioral therapy to address things like psychological trauma and panic disorder

EMDR or Eye Movement Disorder Reprocessing therapy is a unique form of mental health treatment. EDMR treatmentuses an integrative psychotherapy approach to technical negative cognition and psychological or post-traumatic stress

Today, we’re going to introduce you to the basics of EDMR and how it works, to help you determine whether this might be the right treatment for you. 

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is a form of treatment called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. This is an interactive technique that can help with mental health issues and traumatic stress symptoms. It’s an effective solution for those who have posttraumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues caused by a traumatic experience

During an EDMR therapy session, an expert will speak to you about a traumatic memory, allowing you to relive those triggering experiences in a safe and controlled environment. A therapist will track your eye movements as you recall the traumatic event

EDMR is effective because recalling painful events is often less upsetting when your attention can be diverted. This reprocessing therapy or ptsd treatment helps to control your responses to memories or thoughts. Eventually, the impact that the root cause of your post-traumatic stress disorder has on you will be reduced. 

Is EMDR Effective? 

Many experts agree that using EMDR as a treatment for traumatic stress and other mental health disorders issues is an effective option. People can use EMDR for addiction treatment, or to overcome adverse life experience and anxietydisorder. In some cases, your doctor or therapist might recommend using EMDR with other strategies, like cognitive behavioral therapy. This is often the case if you have complex trauma

Speaking to an EMDR practitioner can be particularly useful if you have traumatic memories but struggle to talk about your previous experiences. EMDR processing doesn’t have a lot of clinical research behind it yet, but many people find this strategy useful for:

Various studies into bilateral stimulation and EMDR therapy for stress and mental health treatments have demonstrated the effectiveness of this solution. The Department of Veterans Affairs recommends EMDR to treat post-traumatic stressdisorder

One study in 2012 found that EMDR treatment was able to support 77% of the people with mental health disorders and PTSD. The hallucinations, anxiety, delusions, and depression symptoms that these people felt were improved significantly after exposure therapy. The research also found that symptoms weren’t exacerbated by the treatment

An older study comparing EMDR therapy to traditional prolonged exposure therapy for traumatic stress found that EMDR was better at treating symptoms. The research also discovered that participants were less likely to drop out or feel excess stress and anxiety during the treatment

Many pieces of small research continue to find evidence that EMDR treatment for trauma and PSTD is useful both in the short-term and the long-term. During and immediately following the treatment for the trauma, the participants reported much lower symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. In six-month follow-ups, the research also recognized that participants could maintain these benefits long after treatment had already come to an end. 

In regard to the impact of EMDR on depression, one study found that EMDR in a treatment center showed significant promise in improving the symptoms of the disorder. 68% of the people in the group showed a full remission after their treatment

How Does EMDR Work?

The therapist that you work with will often have an impact on the kind of EMDR psychotherapy experience that you get. There are different treatment approaches available, based on the issues that you may be facing. EMDR usually breaks down into eight different phases, which means that you will need to have multiple sessions with a mental healthprofessional before your treatment is complete. 

Each EMDR therapy session will follow a certain path, like so:

  • Treatment planning and history: In this period, your therapist will review your past and where you are in the treatment process. You might need to talk about your most significant trauma symptom, and what caused your traumatic stress
  • Preparation: During the preparation phase, your therapist will guide you through the strategies that you can use for desensitization and overcoming the stress and emotions that you might be experiencing. Deep breathing and mindfulness may be useful here. 
  • Assessment: The assessment period in your EDMR protocol will identify the specific memories that are causing your issues. You will talk about the associated components that come with those memories, such as mental healthsymptoms, stress, and negative emotion
  • Treatment: In the 4th to 7th phases of your treatment, your EDMR therapist will begin guiding you through exercises that ask you to focus on a negative memory. You will have to do specific eye movements to help you reprocess your thoughts and feelings. You may also have some bilateral stimulation to assist with desensitization. Following the bilateral stimulation, the professional you’re working with will request that you let your mind wander. You’ll need to pay attention to how you feel during this moment. After these thoughts are identified, you might need to refocus on a specific memory or move onto something new. If you’re distressed during an EMDRsession, your therapist will help you to come back into the moment before moving forward. 
  • Evaluation: The final phase of your EDMR research will ask you to evaluate your progress and see how you feel compared to previous sessions. You may notice that your PSTD symptoms aren’t as severe after a while. 

Can EMDR be Done Without a Trained Therapist?

Before you consider using EMDR therapy for your PTSD or trauma-based mental health issues, it’s essential to ensure you’re properly informed. Although EMDR isn’t dangerous, it’s not a good idea to address any mental health disorderwithout the help of a professional. EMDR has fewer side effects than prescription medications and other exposure therapyoptions for traumatic stress. However, there can be some side-effects. 

For instance, EMDR might cause a sense of heightened awareness, which won’t always end at the same time that your session comes to a close. In some cases, this might lead to vivid dreams during your treatment and periods of light-headedness. A professional will help you to manage these side effects if you have them. 

A therapist can also ensure that if you ever become distressed or upset during a period of EMDR therapy, you can safely pull yourself back into the moment without feeling too much pain. This is why it’s always important to work with the right professional. 

However, it’s also worth noting that it will take several sessions of EMDR therapy before you feel as though your traumais gone, or that you have a cure for PTSD. Some people may continue to have PTSD symptoms, although they should be remarkably reduced. 

Like all treatment for trauma, anxiety, and other mental health issues, EMDR doesn’t work overnight. Additionally, the start of therapy might be challenging for people initially. If you’re just starting to face traumatic events for the first time, this can be disorienting. The treatment will be effective in the long-run, but you might find it emotionally stressful to start the treatment at first. 

If you feel nervous when you’re starting your therapy, speak to your therapist. They will be able to give you some insights into how you can handle the side effects and keep your emotional discomfort to a minimum. 

Should You Try EMDR Therapy?

The research into EMDR therapy overwhelmingly suggests that this strategy is an effective way to overcome issues of PTSD and trauma. The treatment may also be helpful at treating other conditions like panic disorders, depression, and anxiety. Your doctor or therapist will be able to advise you on whether this solution is suitable for you based on your situation. 

Some people will prefer EMDR therapy to prescription medications. Many drugs can sometimes come with side effects that are uncomfortable and unwanted. However, some people will also find that this kind of therapy will increase the effectiveness of other treatment options and medications. This could mean that you consider taking a multi-pronged approach to dealing with your condition or trauma

If you think that EMDR treatment might be right for you, it’s essential to speak to a professional about your options. Different people will respond better to certain kinds of therapy and treatment. Discussing your background and symptoms with a mental health professional is the only way to ensure that you’re getting the most effective support. Don’t try EMDR without professional assistance.