EMDR therapy is an interactive therapy used to help people heal from psychological distress associated with trauma and other adverse life experiences. This method involves moving your eyes in particular ways, as a trained EMDR therapist directed, while you process traumatic memories. EMDR is non-invasive and does not require talking in detail about a traumatic event, so it is beneficial for individuals who struggle with verbal expression.
EMDR was initially developed in the 1980s to treat PTSD. Since then, it has gained worldwide recognition for its effectiveness and is used in various mental health treatment programs. At Harmony Hills, our EMDR therapy program is an essential part of an individualized treatment plan, especially for clients with a history of trauma. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to learn more about how EMDR therapy works.
How Does EMDR Therapy Help Mental Health?
Many people who experience trauma cannot effectively process it, leaving it “stuck” in the brain. EMDR focuses on changing the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that result from trauma, allowing the brain to resume the natural healing process. EMDR uses auditory, tactile, and visual stimulation to simultaneously activate both sides of the brain, allowing for rapid processing. EMDR releases the memory from being stuck in the brain’s emotional center to being processed in the logical center. EMDR therapy does not erase painful experiences but allows individuals to acknowledge them without feeling like they are reliving them.
What Are the Benefits of EMDR Therapy?
The primary benefit of EMDR therapy is that it works very quickly compared to traditional talk and behavior therapies. Before EMDR therapy, there was a long-held belief that overcoming significant psychological trauma required years of talk therapy. EMDR shows that the brain can heal from psychological trauma, much like the body recovers from physical trauma. Other benefits include:
- Development of healthy coping mechanisms
- Changes in patterns of negative thoughts and beliefs
- Reduces anxiety and panic attacks
- Reduces depression
- Improves self-perception
- It’s safe and non-invasive
Though EMDR does not require in-depth discussions about past trauma, clients should be aware that it can feel triggering initially. An EMDR therapist acknowledges this and provides coping mechanisms to help manage it.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
EMDR therapy consists of eight phases that occur over several sessions. These phases are:
- Information gathering and patient history – The therapist gathers information about you and your past, including trauma that you want to focus on and your goals for therapy.
- Preparation and education – The therapist explain the process of EMDR and what you can expect and provides you with tools for managing your emotions during sessions.
- Assessment – The therapist helps identify themes and specific memories, negative beliefs about how the trauma has impacted you, and positive beliefs you want to achieve about yourself.
- Desensitization and reprocessing – The therapist activates memories by helping you identify specific negative images, thoughts, or feelings surrounding the trauma, then guides you in identifying new thoughts, feelings, and insights about what you experience during reprocessing.
- Installation – The therapist has you focus on the positive belief you want to incorporate as you process a memory.
- Body scan – The therapist has you focus on how you feel in your body, particularly when thinking about the negative memory. As you progress in EMDR therapy, these symptoms should decrease in intensity until they are gone.
- Closure and stabilization – The therapist will discuss what you should expect between sessions and how to stabilize yourself if negative thoughts or feelings arise. You may be asked to write down any new thoughts or feelings related to the trauma to discuss in the next session.
- Reevaluation and continuing care – The therapist reviews your progress and where you are now to determine if you need additional sessions or if goals need to be adjusted.
Call Harmony Hills for EMDR Therapy for Mental Health Treatment
At Harmony Hills, we want to give you or your loved one the care and support needed to overcome the symptoms of trauma and mental health disorders. Our certified EMDR therapist has the knowledge and experience to help you heal safely and effectively. Contact us today at 855.494.0357 to learn more about EMDR therapy for mental health treatment.