EMDR Therapy What is EMDR? How does EMDR work? EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Freely translated, this means reprocessing and extinguishing emotions through rapid eye movements. EMDR is mainly used in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it can be effective in case of more complaints, including symptoms of depersonalization or derealisation.
When you have suffered a trauma, you have bad memories of it. Think of war, sexual abuse, violence, or a serious accident. Handling a traumatic event is often difficult. Some people suffer from reliving, anxiety, stress, anger, sleep problems or concentration problems for a long time. In that case, EMDR is an effective therapy to reduce, or eliminate, these complaints.
How does EMDR work?
During EMDR, the processing process is restarted. First of all, information is collected about the event and the trauma through interviews. Images, thoughts and feelings arise. The psychologist will ask you to think back to the traumatic event, and the image that you have most often stayed with, so that you now have re-experiences. While you think of this image or event, the psychologist will simultaneously move his finger back and forth in front of your face. You follow the finger with your eyes while you think of the image. Instead of finger movements, this can also be a small ball that goes back and forth. In addition, the provision of sounds via headphones is also used. Here you always hear a ‘tick sound’ on the left and right. The point is therefore that you get a stimulus that you focus on, while you think of the image that evokes negative emotions.
In this way, two processes are activated simultaneously in your brain: attention and memory. These attention and memory tasks cost your brain a lot of capacity. The signals are actually ‘in the way’. In that process the memory goes to the background. The emotion becomes vaguer, and with every new set of stimuli, this goes further. The memory remains but the accompanying unpleasant emotion is (partially) ‘erased’. This makes it easier to think back on the event, without getting hit.
Not so well known is the use of EMDR in future situations that, at the thought alone, generate stress. For example, you can experience crippling stress at the thought of that very important presentation soon, for a full audience. When you know the setting of the room, you can imagine yourself during an EMDR session that you walk in, stand behind the microphone, and look into the room. The nerves you experienced earlier with that thought will decrease, making you more confident for that presentation. This shape may be slightly more difficult to apply, but definitely worth a try. When you are very much aware of important situations, you can check with the psychologist if EMDR can help.
It has been scientifically proven that EMDR is very effective. Anxiety symptoms decrease significantly. The success depends on a good relationship of trust with the therapist, and how well you can focus on the stimulus.
Find a psychologist who specializes in EMDR.