Living with trauma can be a long-term, day-to-day challenge. Living with trauma in our current times can feel almost impossible. In fact, it might be current events that traumatized you.
Trauma — whether it stems from the past or more recent events— requires treatment. There is no shortage of quality approaches available to you. However, one of them has a track record of faster, lasting results with few side effects: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR.
This proven method sidesteps modalities like talk therapy and medication and may just be what your traumatized brain needs.
Trauma: The Basics
Unfortunately, being exposed to traumatic events has become increasingly common — especially for girls and women. Such events include:
- Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse
- Victimized by a crime
- Injury, illness, or accident
- Neglect, abandonment, separation, divorce, etc.
- Natural disaster
- War or terrorism
- Death of a loved one
To this (incomplete) list, you can add some widespread factors affecting us all. A global pandemic, economic crisis, job loss, social isolation, and more have been particularly taxing. For many folks, trauma is difficult to process. It gets buried or denied but often emerges in the form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Common symptoms of the disorder include:
- Physical aches, tension, and illness
Again, trauma requires treatment before such symptoms become debilitating. EMDR may be the ideal choice in our current circumstances.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: The Basics
EMDR involves eight phases of treatment, spread out over six to 20 sessions. It begins with taking the patient’s history. From there, the therapist and patient work to identify a specific memory or thought to be focused on. With the patient clearly holding this image in their mind, the EMDR therapist begins to move their hands and fingers in the patient’s field of vision.
Using the same mechanisms involved with Rapid Eye Movement sleep, study after study finds that EMDR helps the client efficiently process the traumatic memory. Not only that, during the sessions, the patient chooses a positive image or thought to “replace” the negative emotions they’ve finally processed.
4 Ways EMDR Can Soothe Your Traumatized Brain Right Now
1. It Directly Addresses PTSD
EMDR is “strongly recommended” by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of PTSD. There is much successful research to cite as the reason for this. Most notably, there was a 2012 study that significantly reduced PTSD symptoms (anxiety, hallucinations, depression, delusions, and more) in 77 percent of participants.
2. Shorter Treatment and Deeper Commitment
Again, EMDR is not an ongoing talk therapy or pharmaceutical intervention. The relatively brief length of the treatment virtually guarantees a lower dropout rate from clients. Needless to say, the promise of lasting results in a short time period is some serious motivation.
3. Proven Long Term Benefits
Don’t let the speed of the treatment make you think it nets temporary recovery. In three- and six-month follow-ups, people with PTSD who tried EMDR reported long-term benefits. This is essential when one factors in the uncertainty we all face now.
4. Minor (if any) Side Effects
A typical medication, for example, will have side effects — sometimes serious. Also, it must be continued in order to maintain its positive impact. EMDR, as cited in #3 above, sustains benefits long after the treatment ends. Its side effects may initially include a sudden increase in traumatic memories. However, this is part of the treatment. Such memories are being processed and replace. Lesser side effects include lightheadedness or vivid dreams but they will ease over the course of the sessions.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is an innovative approach to a common condition. It may sound unusual but please feel free to reach out today to ask questions and learn more. If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions have regarding Trauma Therapy, please contact us.