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Using EMDR for PTSD

therapist holds to fingers up in front of a patients face while using emdr for ptsd

Unhealed trauma can be the basis for other mental health concerns such as depression, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy programs can help with healing from trauma. EMDR therapy works by targeting traumatic memories and processing them in a safe environment, allowing the individual to reprocess and release the emotions associated with the trauma. Call Evoke Wellness at Waltham at 866.276.1920 to learn more about EMDR and how it can help you or a loved one heal.

The Importance of Healing from Trauma

Trauma is an emotional reaction to a distressing event. Men and women serving in the military have helped shine a light on the long-term effects of trauma and how it can negatively impact an individual’s mental and physical health.

People may encounter a number of potentially traumatic events, including:

  • The sudden death of a loved one
  • Surviving a natural disaster
  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Living with a family member who has an untreated mental health condition
  • Environmental factors, such as violence in the community
  • Chronic illness
  • A near-death experience, such as a car accident
  • Living in a war zone
  • Combat experience
  • Assault, including sexual assault
  • Being a victim of or witnessing domestic violence

Trauma has a direct impact on both the brain and body. It can affect the way you react to future stressful situations and cause an imbalance in the stress hormone cortisol. If PTSD develops, it can cause long-term changes in the brain and lead to a host of severe symptoms.

EMDR and Trauma Treatment

EMDR therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on decreasing the effects of traumatic memories. The goal of EMDR is to help people heal from trauma. While the technique is relatively new in the world of psychology, the first clinical trials began in 1989, and dozens of studies have shown that the technique is effective.

Many experts recommend EMDR for PTSD treatment. Unlike some other types of psychotherapy, EMDR doesn’t require lengthy discussion and examination of memories that can be painful. Instead, it works by repairing the mental injuries attached to memories. While it does not erase the memories, it decreases the distressing feelings that were once attached to them.

How Does EMDR Work?

There are eight phases in an EMDR session. Reprocessing a single memory can take between three and six sessions. However, many patients report improvement in the first session. People who are coping with long-term or complex traumas may need 12 or more sessions before they start noticing the benefits.

The eight phases of EMDR include:

  1. Patient history and information gathering
  2. Preparation, which includes educating the patient about what will happen during the session
  3. Assessment, identifying themes in traumatic memories, and specifying what the patient wishes to work on
  4. Desensitization and reprocessing, which involves activating memories and using a series of sounds or actions to reprocess the feelings attached to the memory
  5. Installation, including focusing on a positive belief you want to attach to the memory
  6. Body scan, which involves focusing on how your body feels when recalling the negative memory
  7. Closure and stabilization, including discussing what to expect from future sessions and how to deal with negative feelings that may arise
  8. Reevaluation and discussing the patient’s progress and future goals for therapy

Undergoing EMDR for PTSD can result in rapid improvement in symptoms. It may be used as a stand-alone treatment but is often included in a comprehensive treatment plan.

Call Evoke Wellness at Waltham Today and Begin EMDR for PTSD

You don’t have to live with the impact of unhealed trauma. Addressing trauma is at the core of improving your mental health and breaking free from addictions. Evoke Wellness at Waltham provides treatment for addiction and other mental health concerns. EMDR is part of our holistic approach to trauma healing. Call Evoke Wellness at Waltham at 866.276.1920 or contact us online to learn more about the benefits of EMDR therapy.