What is EMDR Therapy? 5 Things to Expect

EMDR therapy

If you or a loved one has a mental illness, you may have heard of EMDR therapy. But what is EMDR therapy?

EMDR therapy is a treatment used for disorders such as PTSD and mood disorders. It stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. The purpose is to desensitize the person from the negative feelings associated with their condition or traumatic situation.

Though EMDR therapy is a relatively new and untraditional practice, many find it helpful for alleviating painful thoughts and feelings. If you’re interested in an EMDR appointment for you or a loved one, here are a few things you might want to expect going into a first appointment.

1. You Will Have to Face Your Trauma

Though the treatment process varies depending on the physician you’re going to, EMDR therapy will ask you to face your traumatic moments head-on. Knowing you’ll have to subject yourself to reliving those painful moments is challenging, we understand.

However, to resolve the negative emotions, your therapist will have to ask you to experience them again.

2. It Takes Time to Be Effective

EMDR doesn’t work in a single session. If it does work for you, the treatment can take as much or as little time as your brain and body need to process it.

Don’t become impatient with yourself or your doctor. Allow yourself to heal and replace those negative memories and feelings.

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3. The Doctor Will Perform Bilateral Stimulation

To lessen the negative emotions associated with your traumatic event or disorder, the doctor will perform bilateral stimulation. This is said to alleviate negative feelings and make it easier for one to open up.

A therapist may do this in many different ways, but it’s most commonly done visually or auditorily. Visually, the therapist will have you watch an object, light, or something else move back and forth from left to right. They may also ask you to listen to a sound that goes from one ear to the other, thus moving bilaterally.

Scientific research has shown that engaging in bilateral stimulation helps reduce stress or worry. It can also increase relaxation and feelings of calmness.

4. You Will Incorporate Positive Thoughts

The whole treatment isn’t negative, of course; how else would you rid yourself of those negative feelings?

As you begin to calm from the bilateral stimulation, your therapist will ask you to integrate positive thoughts into the process, replacing the painful emotions.

5. You Will Be Asked to Re-Assess Your Feelings

During each treatment session, you will most likely be asked before you begin to rate or assess your negative feelings or thoughts. After the therapy is complete for the day, you will be asked again.

The hope is that by the end of each therapy session, your negative feelings will have improved. Over time, EMDR is meant to lessen them.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a method therapists are employing to try and dispel painful memories and negative emotions. While it may not work for everybody, it has worked for some.

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If you’ve been asking, “What is EMDR therapy?”, for yourself or a loved one, continue your research and ask a therapist if it sounds like a viable option.

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