When someone suffers from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, finding an effective treatment plan can prove quite challenging. Different styles of therapy work for different people, with a one-size-fits-all approach, rarely being the way to go. An increasingly popular treatment approach that has shown promise in treating these conditions comes in the form of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
If your psychiatrist has recommended this approach and determined that EMDR is an appropriate part of your treatment, you may wonder what to expect from it. Here are some of the hallmarks of EMDR therapy and what patients can expect throughout the process.
Defining EMDR Therapy
One of the main components of PTSD is the sensory overload that people feel when they relieve their trauma. They become overwhelmed by their triggers and usually require tailored techniques to restore their equilibrium. EMDR therapy uses sensory inputs to help people deal with, recover and overcome their past traumas and emotional distress. The goal of this therapy remains simple — unblock the emotional processes that have stagnated as by the distress.
When functioning normally, your brain processes emotions by perceiving and reacting to stimuli, regulating the limbic system, managing memories, and balancing the chemical reactions that govern your mood. Specific traumas and stressors can interfere with these natural processes and cause the following reactions:
- Panic Attacks
- Obsessive Thoughts
When utilized in a controlled environment under appropriate supervision, EMDR therapy can unblock these stagnant processes and help the patient recover. This particular therapy can help “reprogram” your brain to respond to these stimuli more constructively.
How Does It Work?
Overcoming your stressors and triggers looks different for every patient, but EMDR treatments take a similar approach to treating your trauma. During a session, you dive into the traumatic memories to process your feelings. Therapists use a combination of eye movements, hand tapping, and audio stimulation. EMDR therapy focuses on a particular stimulus that mimics eye movements during REM sleep.
Our brains become increasingly active during REM sleep, processing various situations and events that took place during your day. You’ll focus on a singular negative event, and your therapist will begin a predetermined set of side-to-side eye movements, sounds, or taps. This allows you to begin reprocessing the traumatic event by talking about what came to mind when you started remembering the event. The more sessions you have can help you facilitate the process and begin to react to the memory differently and fully reprocess it.
How Long Does EMDR Treatment Take?
A typical EMDR session lasts between 60-90 minutes per session. A treatment cycle usually consists of eight different phases that can vary in intensity as time moves on. There’s a feeling-out period with your therapist to get to know them. They’ll ask you questions about your past to get to know you better and have an understanding of where to begin your sessions.
Finding a psychiatric treatment center where you feel safe and comfortable exploring your trauma remains a factor in your ongoing recovery journey. For people in Eastern Tennessee and Orland, FL, Pasadena Villa Network provides our patients with the safe environment they need to process their traumas and develop new coping mechanisms. If you or someone you love wants to learn more about EMDR treatments and if they’re right for them, contact our team today at 866-319-8270.