EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy) is a type of psychotherapy used to treat trauma-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
EMDR therapy involves a structured approach that includes eight phases of treatment. During the first phase, the therapist gathers information about the client’s history and symptoms.
In the second phase, the therapist works with the client to develop coping skills to manage the emotional distress associated with the traumatic memories. In the third phase, the therapist identifies traumatic memories causing distress and helps the client focus on them while engaging in bilateral sensory stimulation.
It can involve eye movements, tapping, or other sensory input forms that stimulate both brain hemispheres. In the subsequent phases, the therapist and client work to reprocess the traumatic memories so they no longer cause emotional distress. It involves linking the traumatic memory with more adaptive thoughts and beliefs and processing the associated emotions.
Despite its proven effectiveness, there are several misconceptions people have about EMDR therapy which include the below information.
1- EMDR Therapy is Only for Eye Movement
While eye movement is a crucial component of EMDR therapy, it’s not the only method of bilateral stimulation that can be used. Other sensory inputs of bilateral stimulation include tapping, audio stimulation, and hand movements. These sensory inputs are used to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain to process traumatic memories.
2- There’s Minimal Research on EMDR Therapy
EMDR therapy has been extensively studied and is considered an evidence-based treatment for trauma-related disorders by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
3- EMDR is Hypnosis
While EMDR therapy and hypnosis involve some form of altered state of consciousness, they are fundamentally different. Hypnosis is a trance-like state in which an individual is highly suggestible and may be more receptive to the suggestions of a hypnotist.
Hypnosis is often used for behavioral change, such as quitting smoking or losing weight, and may involve relaxation techniques, visualizations, and other forms of suggestion. EMDR therapy, on the other hand, is a structured form of therapy that involves identifying and reprocessing traumatic memories.
4- EMDR is a “Quick Fix”
While EMDR therapy can effectively treat trauma-related disorders, it is not a cure-all or a one-session solution. It typically involves several sessions of treatment. The sessions required will vary depending on the individual’s specific needs and circumstances.
It’s essential to find an EMDR therapist who is trained and experienced and one with whom you feel comfortable and can establish a therapeutic relationship. You may want to schedule an initial consultation or phone call with potential therapists to discuss your needs and goals for therapy and to ask any questions you may have about their experience and approach to EMDR therapy.
You may also want to consider location, availability, and cost factors when selecting an EMDR therapist. Many therapists offer a sliding scale fee based on income or accept insurance, so inquire about fees and insurance coverage when you contact them. Its good to have all the info.