Thursday
Sep272012

EMDR Works! Why to use it in therapy - Part 2

I have two other reasons to try EMDR in your treatment. 

Reason #2: EMDR uses your already healthy system to managing emotions.  You have what it takes!

One of the reasons I like EMDR is that it uses strengths you already have.  As with many approaches, that means that EMDR does not feel like someone is "doing something" to you.  Unlike medication, EMDR is your own process using your own brain and it's inherent healing ability.  Each of us is born with a biologically based system for managing the stressors we encounter.  We are able to "shake off" most stresses in our life as a result and maintain our balance.  This system is already working for you.  However, when we encounter overwhelming stress, this system gets overloaded, and that memory and emotion gets stored in isolation outside this system, sometimes looking like distinct separated areas of the brain in brain scans.  As a result, they are experienced as overwhelming and raw memories.  They work into our assumptions about ourselves and the world and can fill us with feelings of hopelessness and sadness.  When the memories are triggered, we can experience intense fear and anxiety. 

EMDR helps to consolidate these memories into their proper context so that they can be processed by your already existing brain processing system.  It uses your brain to heal itself.  By facilitating your eye-movements (or bilateral tapping or aural tones) EMDR allows this processing system to begin to work directly on the memory material and people begin to heal.  When a memory/emotion is traumatic, it's metaphorically "knit" into the fabric of your frame of reference.  When you start to process one memory, it can lead to another and another.  It seems like by pulling on a thread, the fabric of trauma is unraveled and released.  After that, the protocol seeks to reframe the person's perpective into a more positive and confident context.

Also, because EMDR is working directly on the memory material, it is quite efficient...

Reason #3: EMDR is an efficient treatment that can work rapidly

Please note:  EMDR is not a miracle cure and treatment can take longer than expected if there is a chronic, deep trauma. 

However, in my experience, many people begin to experience relief and healing soon after treatment begins.  Because EMDR is a complete treatment approach that involves many steps toward healing, processing might not begin with the first session.  Together, we (therapist & client) work to help prepare for the processing.  We build skills and resources for when emotional material materializes.  I spend time being sure that I understand the targets for the EMDR process.  However, when a client is ready and processing starts, EMDR works efficiently.  I am available 24/7 should a client need additional support during the more intense processing phase.

I have had many clients tell me that we were able to work on feelings and concerns that they have had for many years that were never explored in their previous treatment.  Because of the efficiency of the treatment, we are able to delve deeply into the material more thoroughly, more so than through traditional "talk therapy."  Remember, though, EMDR is a treatment process and requires preparation to be sure that it is effective and safe.  Simply jumping into processing can cause harm and result in negative outcomes.

Who is EMDR best for and what problems can it help?  Next I will explain who EMDR is best for and what the research shows about the types of issues it can address....

 

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