What is EMDR Therapy and How Can It Help?

Mental health support is becoming more accessible than ever before, as modern-day society continues to challenge the stigma associated with this sensitive topic. If you’ve ever wondered about partaking in therapy to help you overcome past traumas, promote personal growth, or just to understand more about yourself and your emotions, you may be wondering what options are available.

There are so many different forms of therapy that can support individuals in reaching their goals around personal care. More traditional forms are centred around verbal processing, where you directly talk through the thoughts and feelings that are affecting your wellbeing.

An alternative approach to talking treatments is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy. This relatively modern method sets out different stages of treatment that rely on various techniques to help individuals to address and overcome negative experiences in their lives. It remains something of a contentious topic in psychological academia, but there is plenty of research available that supports its efficacy. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at exactly what’s involved in EMDR therapy, who it’s specifically aimed at, and the potential benefits of engaging in it.

What is EMDR therapy?

EMDR therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that has gained an increasingly large following in recent years. The therapy itself helps individuals struggling with past traumatic experiences to process their emotions, sensations, and thoughts related to those experiences.

While traditional forms of therapy have sought to tackle trauma head-on, EMDR uses a more indirect approach by asking patients to revisit the feelings surrounding the event and slowly moving towards more positive emotions. By bringing a variety of sensory and visual stimuli to the forefront, EMDR has been shown to help individuals finally heal from past traumas and find a renewed sense of self and confidence.

How does EMDR therapy differ from talking therapies?

Unlike other therapies, EMDR focuses on accessing and processing traumatic memories through eye movements, tapping or other bilateral stimulation techniques, over the use of verbal processing. By stimulating both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously, EMDR can help clients process and resolve distressing memories and reduce the intensity of their emotional responses to these memories. While it may seem unconventional at first, many clients have found relief with this unique form of therapy.

While talking and listening is still a part of EMDR, these alternative techniques provide the foundation for the work you’ll be doing over the course of your sessions.

What are the Benefits of EMDR Therapy?

Some of the benefits of EMDR therapy include relief from distressing symptoms like depression and anxiety, improved self-esteem, and enhanced capacity for positive emotions. Additionally, EMDR can help individuals form new positive associations with past experiences that were once traumatic or distressing.

This therapy is non-invasive and doesn't involve the use of medication, making it a safe and non-addictive treatment option for those seeking help. Whether it's healing from a traumatic event or just reducing anxiety and stress levels, EMDR therapy can be a great option for those looking to improve their mental health and overall wellbeing.

Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?

As we’ve explored, there are lots of potential benefits to engaging with EMDR therapy, but how much an individual stands to gain from it is heavily dependent on their personal circumstances. For some, more traditional therapies like CBT may be better suited and more worthwhile. Primarily, people who decide to use EMDR therapy will have experienced traumatic events which continue to affect their mental health. They may or may not be living with a trauma-related condition like PTSD.

However, it has also been shown to be an effective course of treatment for anyone struggling with other mental health issues like anxiety, depression or phobias. Due to the techniques involved in the therapy, people who often find themselves feeling overwhelmed when confronting their emotions are likely to find the treatment particularly difficult. Having to lift negative experiences and emotions to the forefront of your mind can bring about unpleasant emotional reactions, which can affect mood outside of the sessions.

This is why it’s so important to use a skilled and fully qualified therapist; they’ll be experienced in helping clients to manage these spikes and emotional reactions and tailor the sessions across the eight phases of treatment accordingly. Plus, over time, these reactions generally become more manageable as individuals work through their past trauma in a safe and comfortable environment.

Using EMDR therapy effectively

EMDR therapy is a recognised form of treatment for people dealing with past traumas and a range of other mental health issues. If you think you may benefit from realising the opportunities of this therapy yourself, make sure you get in touch with a qualified EMDR practitioner who will be able to explain more about the process to determine whether or not it meets your needs.

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About Lauren

Lauren is the Content & Community Manager for Wellness Force Media. According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.

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