WHAT IS E.M.D.R?
EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
EMDR is a therapeutic approach that focuses on the patient, enabling the therapist to stimulate the healing mechanisms inherent in each person. A system of cerebral information processing is activated with this therapy.
The EMDR model takes into account the physiological components of emotional difficulties. The EMDR method focuses directly on these somatic sensations together with negative beliefs and emotional states related to symptoms that upset the patient.
CAN EMDR HELP ME?
EMDR can be applied to problems that derive from shocking incidents correlated with phobias, depression, panic attacks, death, eating disorders, reproductive dysfunctions, addictions, intrusive thoughts, natural catastrophes, anxiety and also emotional distress mixed with fear, mourning, anger, guilt, repetitive nightmares and behavioural symptomatology in which one avoids desired activities.
EMDR is also applied in the treatment of anxiety and/or public-speaking phobia, to improve work performance, in politics, sports and in artistic performance.
HOW DOES EMDR WORK?
EMDR is an integral method of psychotherapy which is comprised of diverse therapeutic perspectives such as cognitive techniques, self-control, mindfulness, working with mental images… All of which are carried out in a structured treatment plan in order to meet the specific needs of each patient.
The EMDR reprocessing combines the dual attention of traumatic memory with eye movements, looking from right to left – and also alternating sounds and vibrations.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE EMDR SESSION?
The therapist works together with the patient to identify the problem areas which will become the target of the treatment. After identifying the most relevant aspects of the traumatic incident, while the patient carries out the eye movements or any other type of bilateral stimulation – other parts of memories or other memories flow through his or her mind. From time to time, the therapist interrupts the bilateral stimulation to ensure that the patient is processing it properly and he or she makes clinical decisions based on what is needed during the session.
The bilateral stimulation which can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic facilitates the connection between the two cerebral hemispheres obtaining the processing of information and the reduction of the emotional load.
The therapist directs the procedure aiming the patient to process the information related to the traumatic incident, directing it in order to reach an adaptive solution. According to F. Shapiro this supposes: a) the reduction of the symptomatology b) modification of beliefs c) the possibility of managing and experiencing a better day-to-day life.
The EMDR approach is centred on three points: 1) initial life experiences 2) present stressful experiences and 3) desired thoughts and behaviour in the future
EMDR treatment may last between 3 sessions in the case of a small trauma and for more than one year in the case of complex problems.
EMDR is not a panacea. Although EMDR does help and has helped in situations of emotional suffering and trauma, one should be aware that not everyone proves to be an ideal candidate for this kind of therapy. It’s the well-trained mental health professional who will be able to evaluate if EMDR will be suitable for the patient.