Originally designed to assist individuals struggling with trauma, EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) has become an effective tool for mental health treatment. It has been proven effective in helping individuals with behavioral issues re-adjust their habits and believes to be more positive and healthy. It is also a treatment that has shown to be useful in relieving anxiety disorders and depression. EMDR therapy is just one of the therapeutic options clients can take advantage of at Grace Counseling.
What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of therapy led by specially trained therapists. It uses a patient’s rapid eye movements in response to a visual and audio stimulus to work through mental health issues. Unlike standard forms of therapy, EMDR therapy doesn’t involve talking. Rather, it is a sort of analytic tool. While it is a relatively new form of therapy, studies have proven it very effective, especially in treating individuals struggling with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). This may sound intriguing to anyone who has experienced distressing life experiences, though it is not recommended for everyone with a history of trauma. For this reason, we always do a screening beforehand to determine if someone is a good candidate for this treatment.
EMDR therapy works to isolate how and why certain images or sounds prompt individuals to re-experience the trauma by reprocessing memories. When someone goes through trauma, their brain can get locked into the original experience replaying it over and over. Often, this happens unconsciously as individuals begin to associate certain things with the trauma they endured. The picture, the sounds, what they felt, every part of it is relived whenever they are reminded of it. The goal of EMDR is to help the client adaptively process those stored memories of events because they were unable to process them at the time or ever since effectively. The approach of EMDR addresses the specifics of traumatizing memories such as images, beliefs, emotions, and even body sensations.
Some of the mental health issues EMDR can help with include:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Panic Disorder
- Physical and sexual assault
How Does EMDR Therapy Work
This form of therapy is conducted through eight phases of treatment. While that may seem daunting, these phases are straightforward and simple to familiarize oneself with:
- Phase 1: In this first session, the therapist assesses the client identifying possible targets for processing.
Phase 2: At this stage, it’s important to make sure individuals have appropriate methods for handling the emotional distress that can arise from revisiting past trauma. Typically clients are taught several stress reduction techniques to use between sessions.
- Phases 3-6: These are the phases of treatment of the most intensity. Clients identify images related to their memory, discover or articulate the negative beliefs associated with them, and discover how their body reacts and how their emotions are expressed. During these stages, clients also identify positive experiences so therapists can gauge the intensity of negative experiences. Clients learn to become more aware of when they experience these sensations and what the stimulus is leading to them.
- Phase 7: At this stage, closure begins. Clients keep a log or journal documenting their experiences and their self-calming activities.
- Phase 8: By this final phase, client and therapist take stock of the progress made and revise or revisit issues as needed.
Discover What Grace Counseling Has to Offer
EMDR therapy is just one of the mental health treatments we offer at Grace Counseling in Fort Worth and Lewisville, Texas.
Whether you are dealing with trauma, anxiety, grief, or depression, we can help you heal by offering a variety of therapies such as: