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. This can often lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
A way to combat PTSD is by undergoing a therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, otherwise known as EMDR therapy. At Braden Counseling Center’s Elgin, IL location, EMDR therapy is available to those who are in need.
Braden Counseling Center offers a range of therapies available to treat trauma. We are proud to provide EMDRtherapy for anxiety and PTSD at our Elgin, IL branch, as well as at our other locations.
How Does it Work?
Rapid eye movement therapy works in a structured manner. 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.
The Benefits of EMDR Therapy
- 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.
The Phases of EMDR Therapy
EMDR therapy requires a certain amount of preparation to determine the best course of action. The process is split into several phases, so it will be necessary to attend multiple meetings and sessions.
Phases 1 & 2 – History and Treatment Planning
First, the therapist will sit with their client to learn their full history. 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. We use measures called Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD), and Validity of Cognition (VOC) to evaluate the changes that occur in the client’s emotions and cognition.
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 belief about themselves.
Once these have been identified, the client is then asked to focus on the memory while the procedures that desensitize the memory take place. 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
In this phase, the client is requested to look at themselves physically while they are going over the traumatic event, and the positive belief that they had about themselves. 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. If there is still more work to be done, the therapist will give the client specific instructions and after-care techniques to try to help the client cope. They will be able to use these techniques until the next EMDR session takes place.
During the follow-up session, the therapist will start by evaluating the client’s current state-of-mind. 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.
Is EMDR a Safe Treatment?
If you are still apprehensive about rapid eye movement therapy, please contact our Elgin, IL office. 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:
- The therapy creates a heightened awareness that lingers after a session. 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.
Does EMDR Work?
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. The APA has also stated that more study is required to further understand the effects of EMDR therapy over time.
More information is available at our Elgin, IL office, but as you will see, there are a lot of benefits to be gained by going with EMDR for PTSD. If you are suffering from this all too common disorder, please contact the professionals at Braden Counseling Center.
How to Get in Touch
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. Our goal is to help free you from the effects of trauma and allow you to lead a happy and fulfilling life.