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EMDR Therapy

EMDR Therapy Explained: How It Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Do you want to achieve your goals but feel like something is holding you back? EMDR therapy may be the answer. This therapy can help people overcome the barriers they’ve been facing that have prevented them from achieving their desired outcome. The process involves remembering, processing, and releasing emotions around traumatic or stressful events in order to reduce their emotional impact on your life today. Read on to find out what EMDR therapy is and how it works.

What are the Benefits of EMDR?

EMDR has been around for more than 30 years, helping people with severe traumas and other painful life experiences. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a method that many therapists in the world have chosen to help their clients overcome traumatic situations.

EMDR Therapy Explained

What is EMDR therapy and how does it work? EMDR starts by focusing your attention on a given object, such as following the movement of a hand in a linear or circular pattern. What makes the EMDR benefits unique is how it works in redirecting your eye movements, all while recollecting memories that caused trauma. EMDR is employed by psychologists and therapists both domestically and internationally, proving to be an effective method for helping overcome distressing memories. It was first developed and introduced by psychologist Francine Shapiro back in the ‘80s when she observed that repeatedly moving her eyes along a pattern helped her decrease the negative emotion that’s related to her painful memories of the past.

8 Phases of EMDR

EMDR consists of eight phases, with each stage equally important than the rest.

Phase 1 and 2 (Planning & Preparation)

Your therapist will spend time getting to know you and your past so that they can best help during the therapy process. They’ll also work with you on a plan of action tailored just for you, which is great because it means progress on EMDR benefits will be made more quickly. It’s important to note that EMDR sessions may cause some discomfort, but this is normal and very common due to the release of repressed memories from your brain into consciousness.

Phase 3 (Assessment)

When recalling memories in a therapy session, it is understandable when mixed emotions are triggered. This phase asks you to identify important events that are associated with your distressing memories and visualize an image that best represents them. Your therapist will walk through your memories by recalling them in short amounts so as not to overwhelm you during the session.

Phase 4 to 7 (Desensitization until Closure)

The EMDR process is a clever mix of light and movement. The therapist uses moving hand gestures or an electronic device that bounces lights back and forth across your eyes at varying speeds. This helps uncover and break down memories associated with traumatic events, so they don’t affect you as much anymore.

Phase 8 (Reevaluation)

The final phase will determine what needs to be adjusted in your therapy session. If there has been almost no improvement, your therapist might have to add in a few factors to your current plan that’s coming from the discoveries during the sessions to achieve improvement over time.

EMDR Benefits Among People Diagnosed with PTSD

Psychologist listening to soldiers in a therapy session

Traumatic events can have a lasting impact on the human psyche. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common amongst veterans or people who had immense distress in the past, and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has recommended EMDR for people who experience PTSD symptoms. A 2018 study discussing the benefits of EMDR versus traditional treatment techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown that EMDR performs better than the latter in helping patients recover from PTSD and anxiety. At Miami Hypnosis and Therapy, your treatment plan may draw from both modalities of psychotherapy, depending on your unique situation.

Living Life Without Regrets

Happy LGBTQIA+ couple holding pride flag

It’s time to take the first step towards your goals. Whether you want relief from anxiety, a more fulfilling career, or better relationships with loved ones and friends, EMDR therapy benefits can help you achieve what matters most in life by helping to resolve emotional trauma. We hope this article has helped answer when we’ve explained what EMDR therapy is and how it works as an effective technique for many people who are struggling emotionally. Book a phone consultation with our licensed mental health counselor today to get started!

Anna Marchenko

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal therapist at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy. She holds a bachelor's degree from NYU and dual masters degrees from Columbia University. Marchenko’s hypnosis certification is from the only hypnosis program in Florida that has been certified by the state’s Board of Education. She helps her clients by utilizing an integrative approach to psychotherapy, tailored to each individual’s mental health journey, drawing from hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP therapy, EMDR, and more.

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