What You Need To Know About EMDR Therapy And Trauma

EMDR therapy is a type of therapy that uses controlled eye movements to reduce the impact of traumatic experiences on the patient. Without therapy, traumatic experiences can feel like they dominate your life. However, pursuing desensitization to your experiences through therapy can help reduce the impact of the trauma and allows you to reclaim your life.

What To Expect During A Session

When your sessions begin you'll have a few introductory sessions where you spend time getting to know your counselor and go over your traumatic experiences. This is to help your counselor learn your triggers and allow a bond of trust to form between both of you. After the introductory sessions, you will progress to EMDR therapy sessions which normally last about an hour.  

In an EMDR session, you will be seated with your counselor in front of you. Each of these sessions will be focused on specific traumatic experiences. You will be asked to recount the traumatic experience as your counselor moves their fingers and asks you to follow their path with your eyes. If the experience is too intense, you will take a break to reduce the tension in your body.

How EMDR Helps

When reexperiencing trauma your eyes move in a specific pattern. By following the movement of your counselor's fingers, it helps to disrupt this pattern and desensitize you to the trauma.

Traumatic triggers often cause physiological responses to occur before coping behaviors can be used. Let's say you experience a trigger that reminds you of a trigger and it throws you into a panic attack. What EMDR does is to lessen your trigger response so that your coping behaviors will be more useful to you and that it's easier for you to heal from trauma.

After you've become desensitized to your traumatic memory, your counselor will work with you to replace your negative beliefs and fears with positive beliefs. The installation of positive beliefs is critical because when you encounter a trigger that reminds you of your trauma it helps you to feel a little safer. When you feel a little safer, it helps to reduce the intensity of your physiological response to your trauma and can help to reduce your mental health symptoms.

Is EMDR Right For You?

EMDR can help anyone that experiences significant stress, trauma, or anxiety. If you want to know if EMDR is a good fit for you, you should contact your counselor and ask to be evaluated. If EMDR is right for you, your counselor will use EMDR to help desensitize you to your traumatic experience and develop a treatment plan that allows you to have a better quality of life.