EMDR Therapy and How Can it Help with PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be a debilitating condition that affects both the individual experiencing it, as well as their loved ones.

It can be difficult to find effective treatments for PTSD, but one promising option is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what EMDR therapy is and how it may help those suffering from PTSD.


What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Francine Shapiro as a way to treat individuals with PTSD (1).

It is a type of psychotherapy that helps individuals process traumatic memories in order to reduce their negative effects on mental health.

The therapist will guide the patient through an eight-phase process that includes history-taking, assessment of current symptoms, preparation for treatment, desensitization, installation of positive cognition, body scan, closure, and reevaluation.

During this process, the therapist will use eye movements or other forms of tactile stimulation (such as tapping or handholding) to help the patient reprocess their traumatic memories in a more adaptive way.


How Does EMDR Work?

During each session of EMDR therapy, the therapist will guide the patient through a sequence of activities designed to help them identify and process their traumatic memories (2).

These activities often include having the patient recall the event while simultaneously focusing on specific hand movements or sounds provided by the therapist.

This helps to reduce the emotional charge associated with the memory so that it can be processed more effectively. The therapist may also use imagery or other techniques to further reduce any negative emotions attached to it.

Over time, this process helps patients gain insight into their experiences and develop healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult emotions or memories in the future.

As a result, many patients find that their symptoms gradually diminish over time until they no longer have any adverse effects from their trauma.


How Can EMDR Help with PTSD?

The goal of EMDR therapy is to help individuals process traumatic memories in a more adaptive way so that they can reduce the intensity of their symptoms and increase psychological wellbeing.

One study found that after 12 weeks of EMDR treatment for combat veterans with PTSD, 80% reported significant reductions in symptom severity compared to only 25% who received standard trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) (3).

This suggests that EMDR may be an effective alternative or supplement to traditional CBT for treating PTSD.

Additionally, some research has found that EMDR may reduce stress hormones such as cortisol more effectively than traditional CBT alone.


Do Keep In Mind That…

It’s important to keep in mind that while research supports the use of EMDR for treating PTSD-related symptoms, it is not a stand-alone treatment option.

It should always be used in conjunction with other therapies such as CBT or psychotherapy in order to maximize its effectiveness.

Additionally, some people may find it challenging or difficult to engage in eye movement activities during sessions due to physical discomfort or difficulty focusing on the task at hand; if this occurs during your sessions, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about alternative treatment options so you can get the best care possible for your needs.


In Conclusion 

In conclusion, EMDR therapy may be an effective option for treating individuals with PTSD.

It is a form of psychotherapy designed to help people reprocess traumatic memories in order to reduce their intensity and increase psychological wellbeing.

Studies have found that it can be more effective than traditional trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy alone at reducing symptom severity and stress hormone levels in those affected by PTSD.

If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, consider talking to your doctor about whether or not EMDR might be right for you.