After suffering a traumatic event, the after-effects can be profound. The person who was involved has a chance to relive their traumatic experience through vivid recollection and imagery, making them feel like they are going through the event over and over again in great detail. The result of this trauma is classified as PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a new way that many people are looking to fight the symptoms associated with PTSD. At Braden Counseling Center’s DeKalb, IL location, EMDR therapy is available to those who are in need.
There are several ways that we can treat trauma at Braden Counseling Center. However, we are proud to provide EMDR therapy for anxiety and PTSD at our DeKalb, IL branch, as well as at our other locations.
What is EMDR Therapy Exactly?
Rapid eye movement therapy is a very structured process. The first thing we will do is to get the individual to focus briefly on their traumatic memories. While they are focusing on those memories, they also experience rapid eye movements known as “bilateral stimulation.” This technique gradually reduces the traumatic memory, and its vividness, until the recollection begins to diminish. The problematic symptoms associated with the memory should also fade.
How EMDR Therapy Can Help PTSD
- In addition to trauma and PTSD, EMDR therapy is also effective against anxiety, nightmares, depression, grief, and the effects of bullying and abuse.
- EMDR is a particularly good option for those who have trouble talking about their trauma.
- Compared to talk therapy, it is a quick form of treatment.
- It helps people cope with trauma and stress before it grows out of control and becomes unmanageable.
- It will also transform negative or self-limiting beliefs, causing the person to feel more positive about themselves.
EMDR Therapy Broken Down in Phases
EMDR therapy requires a certain amount of preparation to determine the best course of action. You will need to attend multiple sessions and meetings, as the process involves several different phases.
Phases 1 & 2 – History and Treatment Planning
To begin with, your therapist will learn their client’s full history as it relates to the trauma. From this information, the therapist can then begin to develop a treatment plan that identifies specific targets such as past memories, triggers, and treatment goals. After this initial phase, the next step is to explain the treatment to the client. This includes teaching different imagery, stress reduction techniques, and other ways to both cope with stress, and to reduce it, between sessions.
Phase 3 – Memory Targeting
Components of targeted memory include things such as images, cognition, effects, and body sensation, which are all identified and assessed when the targeted memory is activated. Evaluation of the changes that come with your emotions and cognition are measured with units called Validity of Cognition (VOC) and Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD).
Phase 4 – Identifying and Focus
After memory targeting is complete, the client is then asked to identify four things:
- The visual image related to the memory in specific detail.
- Negative beliefs they have about themselves.
- Related emotions and body sensations they are feeling.
- A positive feeling the client has about their life.
After these four are visualized by the client, they will be asked to focus on the memory so that desensitization of the memory can occur. After this, during the “installation phase,” the client is asked to hold their concentration on their positive belief, so we can mute the negative thoughts, and introduce positive thinking.
Phase 5 – Body Scan
The client will be asked to think about the positive belief they had, as well as the physical signs that they see in themselves while going over the traumatic event. The purpose is to observe and identify stress, so we can offer additional procedures in order to process it effectively.
Phase 6 and Beyond – Closing and Re-Evaluating
The session ends once our therapist has assessed their client on whether or not the targeted memory has been sufficiently processed. The therapist will give their client instructions and techniques they can use at home in order to cope with what they have just relived. They will be able to use these techniques until the next EMDR session takes place.
For the next session, the therapist will need to evaluate their client’s state-of-mind as it stands at that moment. This is to determine whether progress has been maintained, or if any new memories or triggers have surfaced since the last session. If they have, the new target memories will be used for the new session.
This whole process is repeated until the traumatic event is no longer vivid, and no longer creates any stress within the client.
Will EMDR Hurt Me?
Contact our DeKalb, IL office today if you still have doubts on whether there are dangers associated with rapid eye movement therapy. It is considered a safe form of treatment with far fewer side effects than medication.
That being said, there are still some side effects that could be experienced from EMDR therapy:
- Once the session is done, there can be a lingering heightened sense of awareness. This can cause temporary light-headedness and/or vivid and realistic dreams.
- As the treatment takes several sessions, it can initially be very triggering and emotionally stressful for clients. This will lessen as the treatment continues and starts to take effect.
Are There Facts to Back up EMDR?
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), EMDR therapy has been shown to be very effective for trauma symptoms and symptoms of PTSD, both acute and chronic. It is particularly effective for individuals that have difficulty vocalizing their trauma, since the treatment involves visualization rather than talking. However, more studies need to be done in order to fully understand how EMDR therapy can affect us over a lengthy period of time.
More information is available at our DeKalb, IL office, but as you will see, there are a lot of benefits to be gained by going with EMDR for PTSD. Braden Counseling Center is always available for anyone that shows symptoms of suffering from PTSD.
How Can I Contact Braden Counseling Center?
If you would like to learn more about EMDR therapy, or any of the other therapies and counseling services that we offer at the Braden Counseling Center, then please contact us today.
At the Braden Counseling Center, our experienced staff is looking forward to working with you. We hope to help you move past the traumas that you have faced in your life and start you on a path toward happiness and fulfillment.