Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive, systematic and practical psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. It is an effective treatment for trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as psychological difficulties stemming from traumatic events in childhood.
During EMDR therapy sessions an individual relives traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist applies bilateral stimulation in the form of eye movement. Other forms of bilateral stimulation may also be used including touch (tapping) and sound. This allows the individual to be exposed to the memories and the negative perceptions linked to them. Because of the bilateral focus, the brain is able to reprocess traumatic events effectively and also attach a new more adaptive perception or belief to the event.
In many instances psychological difficulties and symptoms experienced in the present are linked to unresolved traumas of the past. The negative perceptions linked to the events get laid into the foundation of our beliefs and therefore direct our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Defence mechanisms are triggered in the subconscious mind and often become part of the problem/symptom that is experienced in the present.
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What to know before going for EMDR therapy
EMDR therapy has been widely researched and proven to be an effective psychotherapeutic intervention for various psychological difficulties. A practitioner has to go through extensive training to become a qualified EMDR practitioner.
Going through the EMDR process can initially trigger intense emotional and/or physical responses for individuals while traumatic events are being processed. The process is designed to address these reactions effectively and will not leave an individual feeling re-traumatised.
The process is thorough yet short-term and often yields significant results in as few as 4-6 sessions. The duration of therapy and the amount of sessions will be mostly determined by the nature and complexity of the problems experienced, the response of the client to therapy and the relationship between client and therapist.