EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is a type of therapy that can help people living with a number of mental health issues and symptoms. While it’s mostly known for helping people who have been negatively affected by trauma, it can also be used to help people living with debilitating symptoms of other mental health issues as well. But, who is a good candidate for EMDR counseling and what can a person who considers this type of therapy expect?
Symptoms of mental health issues are often stimulated by changes in the nervous system. Essentially, the nervous system is responsible for keeping the body safe by sending messages to the brain so that the body reacts to harmful stimuli, keeping it safe from danger. However, people who experience symptoms of mental health issues may have an overresponsive nervous system that reacts even when not in danger. This can result in unwanted symptoms of anxiety and stress. The concept of EMDR is to reset the nervous system so that the mind can actually heal itself as it would normally, without overstimulation of the nervous system. This is done by using a combination of identifying traumatic events and memories, focusing on these memories, and eye movement engagements in order to restructure traumatic memories in the brain. Thus, changing the way these memories are processed and the body’s response to these traumatic events.
There are a number of mental health diagnoses that EMDR may be effective in using during treatment. Some of these mental health conditions include:
Depression: While EMDR isn’t a cure for depression, it can help people learn to process and manage symptoms associated with depressive disorders. During sessions, individuals living with depression can work to change the way they may think about themselves and what they want for their futures. And, it can also be helpful to improve coping techniques that can work to further reduce depression symptoms.
Other Mood Disorders: Along with depressive disorders, EMDR can help individuals to manage symptoms of other mood disorders including anxiety disorders and OCD. During EMDR sessions, people living with anxiety disorders and OCD can work to pinpoint situations that cause anxiety, motivate themselves to deal with high levels of stress and anxiety, and utilize stimulation in order to visualize themselves in a more healthy state.
PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is what EMDR is mostly used for as it’s very helpful in reducing the symptoms of unresolved trauma. The memories that lead to the development of PTSD can be focused on during EMDR sessions so that they aren’t as damaging to a person’s life who is living with the negative effects of trauma.
What can one expect during EMDR Sessions? Essentially, these sessions involve 7 steps including:
1. History Evaluation: an evaluation of a person’s mental health therapy/medication
2. Preparing: this stage involves a therapist introducing various coping techniques patients can use during EMDR sessions
3. Assessing: exploring specific negative memories and assessing how the patient responds to them
4. Desensitization: using eye movements and other types of stimulation in order to process negative memories
5. Installation: using eye movements and other types of stimulation to process positive memories
6. Body Scanning: a therapist-guided technique to calm the body after a session and ensure patient safety and comfort
7. Conclusion: calming techniques and closing thoughts about how the session went
Are you struggling with negative symptoms of mental health issues and are looking to find supplemental ways of managing these emotions? EMDR is a well-practiced, safe-to-use therapy that has helped thousands of people better manage and control the symptoms of their mental health issues. Find out more bout this type of therapy available at Delray Center for Healing today.