EDMR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful therapy designed to help people recover from traumatic events in their lives. It is recognized as an effective treatment by: the World Health Organization, The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and many other national and international organizations.

What is EMDR?

EMDR involves talking and bilateral stimulation, typically eye movements. Unlike traditional CBT, EMDR does not require homework. The aim is to reduce distress and negative beliefs associated with past overwhelming or traumatic experiences that are having a significant impact on our mental health. It is a phased, focused approach to treating trauma and other symptoms by reconnecting the traumatized person in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution.

To explain it another way, stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create an overwhelming feeling of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.

Trauma history

Untreated trauma can have profound interpersonal and intergenerational consequences, as research has shown parents who have suffered PTSD have a greater likelihood of abusing their children, including harsh physical punishment [i.e., pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting] in the absence of [more severe] child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. EMDR counters the effects of these negative historical memories handed down from adults to children helping to end the negative cycle and promote healing.

Does it Work?

EMDR is a relatively new integrative psychotherapy. It is an evidence-based practice that has been shown to have an 80 percent success rate with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Research 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 of PTSD in 12 sessions.

A single study comparing EMDR to medication (fluoxetine/Prozac) for depression, found that EMDR was associated with greater symptom reduction than medication.

A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health evaluated the effects of 8 sessions of EMDR therapy compared to 8 weeks (about 2 months) of treatment with fluoxetine. EMDR was superior in the change for the better of both PTSD symptoms and depression. Upon termination of therapy, the EMDR group continued to improve, whereas the fluoxetine participants who had reported as showing no symptoms at after the test again became symptomatic. At follow-up, 91% of the EMDR group no longer had PTSD, compared with 72% in the fluoxetine group.

Schedule Your Session

with Everett Counseling

(870) 637-0472