EMDR (standing for Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidenced based psychotherapy. It has helped millions of people of all ages find relief from varying forms of psychological distress. Unlike traditional talk therapy, EMDR is:
- NOT based on conversation between the therapist and client.
- Broken down into structured 8 phases
- Uses bi-lateral stimulation. The client discusses distressing material while engaging in eye movements or a series of tapping on alternate sides of the body.
Thinking of getting started with EMDR? Here are seven ways it can improve your life.
Gets you “Un-stuck”
The link between what we think and what feel can sometimes be disconnected. We KNOW what the best thing to do/think/feel would be, but we just can’t get ourselves to do it. There may be something blocking you, literally holding you back. If you feel stuck, EMDR can:
- Uncover old memories and experiences that are keeping you stuck
- Create a sense of safety so you can discuss painful memories
- Improve your awareness
- Decrease your anxiety
- Connect the belief about yourself to memories/experiences from the past
- Allow you to true FEEL your feelings without getting hijacked by them
Faster Results in Therapy
Have you spent months or years trying therapy? Changed therapists? Or do not think therapy can help you? Research has shown that EMDR has helped patients achieve results that previously took years to occur.
Some research has shown improvement in as short as 12 sessions. This can vary depending on your history.
Once you accomplish this, you can finally feel successful and notice a change within yourself.
Improves Your Relationships
Have you noticed a pattern in your relationships? Do you have difficulties with:
- romantic relationships?
There may be a reason why it is difficult for you to connect with others. The structured process of EMDR looks at other relationships and the effect they have had on you. This is done in a safe and nurturing environment so that you feel comfortable revisiting old relationships and memories. Working through those experiences with EMDR can help you to change the patterns in your current relationships.
Heals Wounds From the Past
Trauma sounds like a heavy word. We all experience things differently. You have the right to feel any way you want about something that happened, regardless of how someone else may have responded. Those of us that are highly sensitive are more likely to have a strong stress reaction to a difficult experience. Children, especially, are more sensitive than adults. Something as simple as falling on the playground can feel traumatic to them.
If you’ve experienced any form of trauma, such as:
- loss of a loved one
- sexual abuse
- auto accidents
- childhood neglect
- emotional invalidation
…you do not have to deal with it on your own. No more being haunted by upsetting images or thoughts. EMDR enables you to move forward so that your past doesn’t affect your present.
Puts You Back in Control
Emotions are scary for everyone, both kids and adults. But it’s healthy to let them out. Holding our emotions in creates a pressure cooker situation. Eventually the time will come that you can no longer be able to hold it all in. Emotions can overwhelm you and show up as:
- panic attacks
EMDR helps you to face your emotions associated to an event and helps you work through them. The end result? Your emotions don’t control your life, you do.
You Sleep Better
Almost all medical and mental professionals say the same thing: sleep is one of the most important factors to physical and emotional health. But what if you can’t sleep? That makes this whole physical/mental wellness thing even more challenging. It’s a vicious cycle.
EMDR helps stop the cycle by uncovering the underlying issue that is causing the battle with your bed.
Whether it’s racing thoughts at night, or recurring nightmares that wake you up and keep you up. EMDR helps to stop those thoughts and improve your sense of relaxation so you can have a restful nights sleep.
Improves Chronic Pain
There has been extensive research that shows a history of trauma is highly correlated with chronic pain (Linton, 1997; Wuertele, Kaplan & Keairnes, 1990). Any anyone suffering with chronic pain would probably agree that the pain is a trauma in-and-of itself. The inability to have any sense of relief for extended periods of time can leave you feeling exhausted, hopeless and frustrated. There is a way to get relief. EMDR helps decrease the level emotional distress, as well as alleviate the chronic pain itself.
Want to know more?
Dana Carretta is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and founder of Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling, PLLC, in Hartsdale, NY. She specializes in clinical psychotherapy to treat children, adolescents and adults with anxiety, behavior and trauma difficulties. Dana has also been a private psychotherapist at Mindful Psychotherapy, LLC, located in Norwalk, CT since 2013.