How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR is a well-established and effective therapy for the treatment of many types of psychological trauma. It is widely used throughout the world, and has been endorsed by numerous medical societies and government agencies. It is recommended by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the French High Authority for Health as a therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Although it is unclear exactly how EMDR works, it is thought that its mechanism of action involves changes to a memory’s emotionality, cognition and physiological responses. As a result, the trauma becomes less emotionally charged and triggered. The therapist helps the client to become more comfortable with the memory in order to reduce any distressing feelings associated with it.

In a typical EMDR session, the client first identifies the negative emotions and physical sensations that are associated with the memory. The therapist then helps the client rate how intense these emotions are. This information is then used to help determine the target of EMDR processing. The target may be an image, thought or body sensation that is related to the traumatic event, or it may be an associated feeling or belief. The therapist will then guide the client through a series of bilateral stimulations, which can involve eye movements, taps or tones, as well as any other type of sensory stimulation that is appropriate for each individual client. These sets of BLS are often short, and the client is instructed to notice whatever spontaneously happens in relation to the memory during this process.

Once the client has experienced a reduction in negative emotions and physical sensations, he or she is ready to move on to the next stage of the EMDR process. At this point, the therapist will help the client to identify a positive belief that is connected to the traumatic experience. This positive belief is then rated as to how intense it is.

Finally, the therapist will assist the client in installing this new positive belief into his or her neural network. This is the final step of EMDR, and it typically takes place over a period of weeks. During this time, the therapist will also help the client to prepare for the possibility that disturbing images, thoughts and/or emotions may occur between sessions.

The goal of EMDR is to help the client resume the natural healing process that was interrupted by trauma. This process is sometimes referred to as “rewiring the brain,” and EMDR is one of the most powerful techniques available to do this. The process is very complex and requires the guidance of a trained EMDR therapist.

EMDR is a psychotherapy technique that has been shown to be extremely effective in treating PTSD. It is an empirically supported treatment, and it has been found to be as effective as other psychotherapies in a number of clinical trials and research studies. The EMDR method is particularly helpful for people who are having difficulty dealing with disturbing memories, and it can be used in combination with other therapies as well.