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  • Kassie Weiland

It May Seem Strange, But What If It Works?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a relatively new mental health therapy technique that involves moving your eyes a specific way while you process traumatic memories. It’s best known for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but its use is expanding to include the treatment of many other conditions.

Although it is a relatively new mental health therapy, the first clinical trial investigating EMDR was back in 1989. Since then, dozens of clinical trials show this technique is effective and may produce results faster. It is recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense.

  • Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.

  • In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions.

During EMDR therapy I’ll ask you to think about an emotionally disturbing event in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus. I like to use hand-tapping to stimulate bilateral brain stimulation but directed lateral eye movements or audio stimulation can also be used. EMDR works by supporting the brain’s ability to shift its perspective and strengthen its own positive networks. According to the EMDR Institute, EMDR therapy shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma similar to how the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing can resume. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.

You can read more about EMDR therapy from the Cleveland Clinic. Then, let’s schedule a time to talk and explore if this is the right type of therapy for you.

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