What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

By | July 3, 2019

The field of therapy is extremely interesting and broad. You have traditional forms of psychotherapy that you may expect a therapist or a counselor to use, and there are newer therapies and methodologies that bring something new to the table. Sometimes, they are very effective and other times, they can be ineffective. Today, we’ll look at EMDR counseling.

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a type of therapy that is said to
get rid of feelings you may associate with trauma and other negative experiences.

It differs from talk therapy because it does not focus on the trauma itself. Other forms of therapy may take a look at the event and go from there, but this one looks at the symptoms and emotions you feel because of the trauma.

How is it Done?

With a name like that, you may wonder what you can expect from an EMDR session. In basic terms, EMDR involves a therapist swinging their hands like the pendulum of a clock. The patient will watch the hands and their eyes will move along with it.

Of course, that’s not all there is to it. You begin by talking to your therapist about the symptoms and mentioning your trauma as well. However, you don’t need to give the therapist your entire trauma story. Instead, you’ll talk with your therapist about what symptoms you want to get rid of, and which ones you think are still necessary. Afterward, your therapist will do the hand movement. This is known as desensitization. You learn that you don’t have to hold onto your feelings.

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This isn’t the full story, however. You will spend future sessions trying to improve your positive emotions and thoughts and learning how you can let go of the negative emotions more. For some, this can take longer than others.

Does it Work?

The idea of literally hand waving someone’s troubles away is a bit controversial. However, there is evidence to prove that EMDR may help. Learning to confront your emotions and feelings, and replacing them with something more positive, is a technique that has been used quite a bit. There is definitely a bit of hypnotism to EMDR, and it may be able to treat other aspects about yourself that involve thought. Depression, anxiety, narcissism, the list goes on.

With that said, not all EMDR therapists are created equally. When searching for one, you can’t just talk to anyone who can wave their hand around. Instead, you should look towards those who are licensed and have had a good history.

Plus, good chemistry and learning to identify with your therapist is always good. This will depend from person to person.

Not to mention, EMDR has elements of mindfulness to it. Mindfulness is the process of always being in
the present, not letting bad thoughts get you down, and being introspective. The body scan, a technique used in mindfulness practices, is prevalent in EMDR.

Some may not like EMDR because it doesn’t involve going to the source of the trauma and instead relieves the symptoms. That’s an understandable criticism, as with any illness, getting rid of the cause is the number-one priority. However, you sometimes need to tackle the symptoms first, and EMDR does that.

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If you’re looking for a way to solve your trauma, EMDR may be the technique for you. It’s different for sure, but it has a lot of potential. It’s more than just waving your hand around; it confronts your emotions and teaches you how you can get past them.

This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.

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