What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a psychotherapy treatment developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories or events. EMDR therapy is done through bilateral stimulation, commonly through eye movements, which is used to allow the brain to reprocess and ultimately reinterpret the meaning of traumatic memories and emotions. Throughout multiple therapy sessions, a trained EMDR therapist guides the client through a total of eight phases.

There are many benefits of the therapeutic methods that may be surprising for potential therapy clients. Continue reading to learn the benefits of EMDR therapy.

 Encourages Communication

It is more common than not that people who have gone through trauma tend to keep their experiences to themselves. Those who have experienced trauma may feel that communicating their trauma experience will cause them to be retraumatized or triggered resulting in being judged, targeted, or burdensome to others.

EMDR encourages individuals to communicate their experiences step-by-step with a therapist and encourages individuals to finally be able to notice and verbalize their memories, physical responses, thoughts, and emotions. Without judging thoughts throughout the EMDR session, the brain is given the opportunity to heal itself. The comment you will hear often from your therapist is, “just notice.”

Reshapes Past Events

EMDR helps to build connections between the physical body and the psychological mind. As traumatic events are broken down during sessions, individuals can take a step back and see another viewing angle of the incident or incidents, reshaping or reframing what occurred.
This different view provides individuals control over the current life adaptations the trauma has created and can help reduce symptoms related to PTSD.

 Acceptance Creates Mental Strength

The therapeutic process helps individuals feel more powerful and eager to face anything else that keeps them from feeling their best. EMDR provides a calm, quick, and confident environment to learn to accept the past and move forward.

After acknowledging the past and coming to terms with acceptance, the mental strength gained from the process can lead to no longer feeling intimidated. Becoming aware of the past without leading to a sudden reaction or response which occurred previously can be very empowering. This often leads to an empowered positive belief about oneself.

The Brain’s Ability to Heal and Remember

A common EMDR therapy benefit is having more accessible memories. EMDR therapy can awaken the brain, stimulating access to vivid detailed memory as well neural connections to other memories that have become linked to the initial targeted event. Many EMDR clients report clear memories of their childhood.

The brain can update old, negative perceptions with positive resolutions, resulting in the brain healing and changing in real-time. With the brain’s ability to change and heal itself, EMDR typically offers quicker results than other therapy modalities. This is a major benefit for those struggling with PTSD and anxiety, as living day-to-day without relief can be crippling.

 Improve Your Life With EMDR

The greatest benefit of all is that EMDR therapy helps to improve the lives of those who were negatively affected by mental triggers. As with any other type of therapy, the benefits experienced in EMDR will be reflective of the effort the person puts into it. However, EMDR therapy allows the person to “just notice” what thoughts come to mind and removes a potential barrier of having to come up with something to share in the therapy session.

 How to Get Started

If you or someone you know is impacted by trauma, our therapists at Illinois Healing Center are EMDR trained and here to help. For support, visit our website at https://www.ilhealingcenter.com/contact or call us at 773.570.0770 to schedule an appointment.