We’d all like to think that the world is a nice place; we hope that everything will always be easy for us and for those we love. Unfortunately, the reality of life is that sometimes bad things do occur to people. When traumatic events happen, they can sometimes bring out an emotional response in people that can make the situation or similar situations difficult to cope with. Generally, this response goes away on its own, but when the emotional response becomes a long-term reaction that affects the person’s daily life, we see the beginnings of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Fortunately, there are many therapeutic options available for people who have suffered from an emotional trauma. One such treatment is EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is a comprehensive approach to psychotherapy that contains elements of several types of therapy, including:
- cognitive behavioral
- body-centered therapies
EMDR deals with the past traumatic experience(s) that set the groundwork for the pathology, current situations, and the triggers that bring on negative reactions from the sufferer. EMDR therapy also addresses the positive experiences and beliefs that are needed to enhance the patient’s future mental health and behaviors. EMDR is an 8-phase program primarily based around information processing therapy. The 8 phases include:
- Phase 1 – This phase is a history-taking session. The client identifies situations that may have led to the trauma and learns skills and behaviors necessary for the rest of the treatment.
- Phase 2 – This phase focuses on coping methods and on ensuring the client is stable and ready for the rest of the treatment.
- Phase 3-6 – These phases address external stimulus combined with a focus on the strongest visual memories related to the trauma, on negative beliefs about self, on related emotions, and on body sensations. The client also identifies a preferred positive belief to replace the negative ones.
- Phase 7 – This is the Closure phase. The client is asked to keep a journal of further negative responses that may occur and works on maintaining the positive skills and behaviors they have learned.
- Phase 8 – This phase is a re-evaluation of previous work to ensure that all related events, as well as the current and future triggers for trauma-related stress have been addressed.
If you or someone you know suffers from a past trauma, EMDR can provide a much shorter recovery time than many therapies of the past. But it requires you to take quick action, before the problem gets worse!
For more information on EMDR treatments for traumas and post-traumatic stress disorder, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.