EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy)
EMDR (also known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) is an integrative psychotherapy methodology that has been proven effective for the treatment of trauma through extensive research. The EMDR therapy process is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches and can be combined with other modes of therapy.
How EMDR Therapy Works
EMDR enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that come from disturbing life experiences (also known as traumas). Repeated studies show that utilizing EMDR therapy helps people gain the same empirically proven results of counseling in a much shorter time period than traditional “talk therapy.” Culturally speaking, there is an adage “time heals all wounds.” With symptoms resulting from trauma, the emotional pain associated with unresolved traumas does not always dissipate. Research studies on EMDR therapy have proven that the mind can, in fact, resolve issues stemming from psychological trauma, much like the body recovers from physical trauma.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy)
Types of Trauma Therapy Available:
Results of EMDR Therapy
The result of EMDR therapy for most people leads to a large decrease in symptoms and in a shorter time span. If you accidentally cut your foot, the body has mechanisms in place to start closing and eventually healing the wound. If there is a foreign object in the foot, or repeated injuries continue to irritate that area—it will cause pain and not heal correctly—it may require medical intervention. However, once the obstacle to cure is removed, the healing process resumes. Just like the example of the foot, EMDR therapy targets and has demonstrated that a similar process can occur with mental and emotional processes—and relief of symptoms will begin. The brain’s adaptive information processing network seeks homeostasis, toward overall emotional and mental wellness. However, if this system is obstructed or knocked out of balance by the impact of a disturbing event(s), an emotional or mental wound can worsen and can cause intense suffering (known as symptoms, such as severe anxiety and depression). Once the obstacle or obstruction is removed, healing in the mind resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training, along with a toolbox of counseling techniques, EMDR-trained Therapists can help clients activate their natural healing mechanism and move through past traumas to a place where they experience deep healing and transformation.
Studies on EMDR Therapy
More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy. Some of the studies illustrated that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer qualified for the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free from major symptoms of PTSD in 12 sessions. Thanks to extensive research, EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the US Department of Defense. As EMDR has been recognized worldwide as an effective treatment of trauma, it can be anecdotally stated that EMDR therapy would also be effective in treating the “every day” memories connected to feelings of low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and many other internal struggles that bring people into counseling. In fact, many clinicians have utilized advanced EMDR techniques to target the overwhelming “felt” symptoms in the body of the client and then connect these to thoughts—in a way that actually reduced the “felt” symptoms and helps the person understand why they experienced such symptoms in the first place. Well over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world utilized EMDR therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years. If you see an EMDR therapist, make sure that they were properly trained, and have received at least the basic certification of 6 full days of training and 10 consultation hours. If you are a person with multiple-traumas or complex PTSD, it would be wise to seek an EMDR therapist who has completed advanced EMDR training.
“Seven of 10 RCTs have indicated that EMDR therapy is more rapid or otherwise superior to CBT,12–19 and only 1 have reported superior effects for CBT on some measures.20 The latter is likewise the only RCT (of 25) to report a control condition superior to EMDR. Whereas the EMDR therapy involved only 8 standard sessions and no homework, the CBT treatment was vastly more complex and entailed 4 sessions of imaginal exposure (describing the trauma) and 4 sessions of therapist-assisted in vivo exposure (physically going to a disturbing location) plus approximately 50 hours of combined imaginal exposure and in vivo exposure homework. The EMDR therapy condition involved only 8 standard sessions and no homework.”
All of the Counselors at The Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids have undergone extensive additional training in order to help you:
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A Health for Life Client
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John Lynch, MDiv, LCSW
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