Once someone has suffered a traumatic event in their lives, the after-effects can be just as devastating. 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. EMDR therapy is available to those in need at the Geneva, IL location of Braden Counseling Center.
At Braden Counseling Center, we can treat trauma with a wide range of different therapy solutions. We are proud to provide EMDR therapy for anxiety and PTSD at our Geneva, IL branch, as well as at our other locations.
What Will it Do?
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. You will also see the symptoms that were causing problems to begin to deteriorate as well.
How EMDR Therapy Can Help
- 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.
- It is quick in comparison to more traditional talk therapy.
- 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.
Steps of EMDR Therapy
In order for the best results, there is a certain amount of preparation needed for EMDR therapy. 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. Once this initial phase is completed, the counselor will explain how the treatment works 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
Things like effects, images, body sensation, and cognition will be identified and assessed as they are crucial components of target memory. 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
You will be asked to identify four different things once memory targeting has been completed:
- 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. In order to offer procedures to minimize stress effectively, we must first identify and observe what the stressors are.
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. Until the next time, an EMDR session can take place, the client can use these techniques to get by.
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. New target memories will be used if new memories or triggers have surfaced since the last 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 Reliable?
If you are still apprehensive about rapid eye movement therapy, please contact our Geneva, IL office. Many experts consider it a safe form of treatment, often with less side effects than you would see with 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. You may experience vivid or realistic dreams as a result, or undergo temporary light-headedness.
- 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.
Will EMDR Work for Me?
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. Because the treatment uses visualization techniques over talking, it is particularly effective for those that have trouble speaking about the trauma they faced. 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 Geneva, IL office, but as you will see, there are a lot of benefits to be gained by going with EMDR for PTSD. Do not hesitate to call the professionals at Braden Counseling Center if you feel you are suffering from PTSD.
How We Can Be Reached
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.
The experienced and knowledgeable staff at Braden Counseling Center is eager to help you down the path to recovery. Our goal is to help free you from the effects of trauma and allow you to lead a happy and fulfilling life.