Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a neuroscience-based approach to healing trauma that utilizes an 8-phase protocol. It is different from more traditional talk therapies, in that EMDR works to focus on the activation and desensitization of traumatic or upsetting memories.
This means that negative self-beliefs, triggering visuals, and uncomfortable body sensations, like muscle tension, are desensitized and are no longer linked together by neurons in the brain. This frees the mind to follow what EMDR calls the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model.
The mind is able to think more accurately about life events or relationships and to recognize that these triggers are a thing of the past. EMDR allows us to live in our current lives without earlier life content affecting our here-and-now.
Frequently Asked Question about EMDR
Research has shown that EMDR is effective for treating:
- Performance anxiety
- Developmental trauma
- Relationship difficulties
Is there any scientific evidence supporting EMDR Therapy?
EMDR Therapy is one of the most well researched trauma treatment models. Approximately 30 randomised controlled studies have found it to be effective for the treatment of PTSD. In 2010 the Australian Psychological Society (APS) noted it as a Level 1 treatment for PTSD; the highest rating that can be applied to a specific therapeutic approach.
The World Health Organisation endorses EMDR for the treatment of PTSD and EMDR is listed on Medicare Australia’s list of approved Focussed Psychological Strategies.
EMDR is widely known for producing rapid results. Many people report feeling a difference after their first session. While everyone’s experience is different, many emotional conditions can be effectively treated in just a few sessions. In reported studies, people suffering from PTSD, single-incident trauma, or Depression experienced significant improvement after just 4 to 12 EMDR sessions.
EMDR patients also reported greater reduction in symptoms, that is deeper effectiveness compared to other treatment.
What Happens During An EMDR Session?
EMDR follows a tried-and-proven step-by-step process used by millions of people:
- Preparation: Mentally and physically preparing yourself.
- Target Identification: Finding the memory that is causing you distress.
- Desensitization: Breaking the negative emotions associated with the Target.
- Installation: Installing new positive beliefs in place.
- Closing: Calming and grounding yourself to return to your day
How Many Sessions Of EMDR Will I Need?
While this depends on each individual’s history and conditions, EMDR has been consistently shown to deliver lasting results faster than comparable treatments.
Many people report significant improvement – and even full remission of symptoms – after 4 to 12 sessions of EMDR.
In multiple studies single-incident trauma has been shown to be effectively processed within 3 sessions for 80% to 90% of patients.
In another study for PTSD in combat veterans, 77% no longer had PTSD symptoms after 12 sessions.
The primary principles and phases of EMDR do not change when done online. It is essentially the same and potentially enhanced by the fact that those receiving treatment can utilize various home comforts during treatment.
EMDR uses grounding techniques to help the client feel safe during the process. Often with EMDR online, providers will spend more time focusing on these grounding techniques, or “resources,” since the provider is less able to support that process remotely.
One of the primary differences between in-person and online EMDR is the way bi-lateral or dual attention devices are delivered. EMDR relies on the use of dual-attention to facilitate the desensitization and adaptation of negative memories. This is traditionally done through eye movements, auditory sound, or tactile stimulation (like tapping).
Interested in giving EMDR a go? Book in with our Counsellor Tamika Dawson
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