EMDR Therapy and the Transformative Benefits
EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a method of treating unresolved distressing memories or past trauma that are causing mental health issues or affecting a person’s emotional wellbeing. Though it is a relatively new therapy, currently there is more scientific research backing up EMDR than any other non-pharmaceutical intervention.
How It Works
The brain sorts and links information during the bilateral eye movement we naturally experience during REM sleep. This effect is mimicked when both sides of the brain are activated during EMDR treatment with bilateral sensory stimulation, such as a handheld vibrating device. The counsellor guides the client through recalling the distressing event and the emotions that accompany it. With the gentle instruction of the counsellor, the client can change the meaning and impact of the memory through the accelerated processing.
Sometimes after experiencing a traumatic event, it continues to control a person’s behaviours in the present. The negative feelings and beliefs can shape perceptions, possibly colouring the worldview in an inaccurate and unhelpful way. Also, just the memory of the event can cause someone to relive the fear or anxiety originally experienced as though it’s happening in the present. EMDR therapy allows the client to reprocess these events and leave them in the past where they belong.
There have been vastly numerous research studies dedicated to EMDR therapy. Results have shown EMDR to be a superior therapy which produces greater trauma resolution. They have also shown that the outcome is due to the therapy directly, not any placebo effect, and are maintained over time. The results can be incredibly fast as well. After just three 90-minute sessions, 84-90% of single-trauma victims no longer had post-traumatic stress disorder in some studies.
After completing EMDR therapy, the memory remains, but the negative emotional responses are eliminated. The client receives valuable insights, resolution, and relief from the distressing event. It will positively affect the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of the client’s life, resulting in improved skills for coping with the present and into the future.
EMDR therapy has been proven to have high efficacy with the treatment of trauma and distressing events which can come in a variety of forms and be caused by a multitude of different experiences. For a list of conditions EMDR therapy can help with, please click over to our EMDR Trauma Therapy page.
The counsellors at Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services are trained and experienced in EMDR and look forward to helping you heal from trauma. Contact us today for a free consultation and to schedule an appointment at any of our three locations throughout the Okanagan including Kelowna, West Kelowna, and Penticton.
This article was written by:
Nicole Ripley, BA Psyc, M.Couns
Registered Clinical Counsellor (#10535)
Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services
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