February 25, 2018

EMDR Online: Frequently Asked Questions

EMDR Trauma Therapy Online

Frequently Asked Questions

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a safe, fast and effective therapy that is particularly suitable to resolving all types of trauma, including PTSD.

EMDR is an approved therapy throughout North America and Europe. In the UK, it is the preferred therapy for trauma recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the statutory body that advises the UK government on the effectiveness and suitability of all medications and treatments. In the USA, the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Defence are just two of the organizations advocating EMDR.

What are the advantages of EMDR Therapy?

Research studies show that EMDR is very effective in helping people process emotionally painful and traumatic experiences. EMDR helps move the client quickly from emotional distress to peaceful resolution of the issues or events involved.

How does it Work?

When disturbing experiences happen, they are stored in the brain with all the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that accompany it. When a person is very upset, the brain seems to be unable to process the experience as it would normally. Therefore, the negative thoughts and feelings of the traumatic event are “trapped” in the nervous system. Since the brain cannot process these emotions, the experience and/or its accompanying feelings are often suppressed from consciousness. However, the distress lives on in the nervous system where it causes disturbances in the emotional functioning of the person.

The EMDR Technique does two very important things. First, it “unlocks” the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and second, it helps the brain to successfully process the experience. When the memory is brought to mind, the feelings are re-experienced in a new and healthy way.

What happens during an EMDR session?

EMDR utilises the natural healing ability of your body. After a thorough assessment, you will be asked specific questions about a particular disturbing memory. Eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep, will be recreated simply by asking you to follow the therapists hand as it moves across your visual field. The eye movements will last for a short while and then stop. You will then be asked to share the experiences you have had during each of these sets of eye movements. With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory begins to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past.

Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life.

How do I know if EMDR is right for me?

There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating the appropriateness of EMDR therapy for a client’s particular situation and history. During your initial consultation with a trained qualified EMDR therapist, all the relevant factors will be discussed in full to help you both come to a decision to move forward with EMDR.

How often would I need EMDR Therapy?

Typically, an EMDR session lasts 90 minutes. The length of treatment depends upon a number of factors, including the nature and history of the problem, the degree of trauma, the specific circumstances on that particular day and other considerations. The history and evaluations are usually done in the first one or two sessions. Then a typical course of treatment is somewhere between 6 and 40 sessions usually on a weekly basis. For individuals with a history of multiple painful experiences and years of feeling bad about them, a number of EMDR sessions may be needed.

EMDR is most effective when used in conjunction with other modes of therapy. Your therapist will discuss a plan of treatment with you ahead of time so you will generally know what to expect.

Is there any discomfort involved in the EMDR process?

The EMDR treatment can evoke strong emotions or sensations during a session. This is perfectly normal and desirable, since the technique works on the negative feelings when they are brought into the client’s awareness. However, the re-experiencing of these unpleasant feelings is brief and they will soon leave you when the process is completed. After an EMDR session, there may be a strong sense of relief, a feeling of openness or even euphoria. This is a normal reaction to the release that has, and is, taking place.

What benefits can I expect?

The positive, long-term results of EMDR therapy affect all levels of the client’s well-being: mental, emotional and physical, so that their responses return to normalcy and health. EMDR therapy can help clients replace their anxiety and fear with positive images, emotions and thoughts. EMDR makes it possible to gain greater self-knowledge and a new perspective, freeing the client to their natural state of emotional functioning, a greater sense of personal power, and a more peaceful life.

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