If talking about your past painful experiences doesn’t give you the relief you need, what are your options?
Talk therapy is a tested and verified strategy that works well for many people and provides the relief they need, so there will always be a place for it in therapy.
Still, some people find that verbalizing a traumatic event is much like reliving it and bringing up unpleasant memories and emotions for no discernible benefit.
EMDR Can Help Heal Painful Memories
When a traumatic event has such a frightening event that it stops the nervous system from functioning correctly, the memory becomes firmly ingrained and internalized. All the physiological and psychological details are trapped inside and become the source of an endless barrage of negative beliefs.
Leaving traumatic memories unprocessed may lead to them being triggered by current experiences and affecting your perception.
Occasionally, talking and replacing thoughts aren’t enough to correct what is happening in the body and mind. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR therapy, is an alternative treatment to talk therapy that achieves therapeutic results for many people.
EMDR works through different mechanisms than talk therapy in that it assists your body and mind’s information-processing ability to reclassify the traumatic memories by shifting a few connections around.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
EMDR is a powerful technique because it can quickly bring about a psychological adjustment to your most disturbing, traumatic experiences and memories. You can eliminate or cast aside the negative thoughts, beliefs, and emotions created by the trauma.
The mind-body connection created by EMDR reprograms your mind and forges new, beneficial connections throughout your nervous system and network of memories. In short, EMDR is a technique to reprogram your mind, so the trauma loses its power over your thoughts and emotions and paves the way for healing.
The Link Between EMDR Therapy, REM Sleep, and Long Term Recovery
Researchers are still yet to completely unravel the mystery of how EMDR is so effective. However, the research suggests that EMDR can stimulate the same mental processes that arise during REM sleep.
Our eyes undergo rapid movement while we dream, and scientists believe that the action results from our brain processing survival information. It is thought that EMDR can tap into the same survival and memory processing mechanism. In essence, the reprocessing of memories that occurs during dreaming can also occur during EMDR while you are awake.
As a result, traumatic memories are transferred from an emotional, traumatic state into a more logic-centric memory. Faulty connections are discarded, and a more logical perspective is gained.
How EMDR Is Performed
Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., originally developed EMDR and describes how the process works below:
“Specific procedures are used to help clients maintain a sense of control during memory work as the therapist guides their focus of attention. They need only focus briefly on the disturbing memory during the processing while engaged in the bilateral stimulation (eye movements, taps or tones) as the internal associations are made. The client’s brain makes the needed links as new emotions, sensations, beliefs, and memories emerge. All of the work is done during the therapy sessions. It is not necessary for the client to describe the memory in detail, and no homework is used.”
There’s no doubt that EMDR bears little resemblance to traditional counseling methods like talk therapy. It is also able to achieve similar results in a fraction of the time. You may experience the traumatic thoughts and emotions, but only briefly before the bilateral stimulation can move you on. You are not trying to control or compartmentalize your emotions. Instead, with the help of your therapist, you are tapping into the natural and powerful healing processes of the brain-body connection.
Discover how you might be able to benefit from EMDR by visiting this page: Trauma Treatment