Psychological distress is undiscriminating. It knows no age, no race, no gender. The good news is EMDR Therapy, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, can help relieve it.
EMDR has helped millions of people from around the world. But unlike traditional talk therapy, it:
Is NOT based on conversation between therapist and client
Has 8 structured phases
Uses bi-lateral stimulation, where the client discusses distressing material while engaging in eye movements or a series of tapping on alternate sides of the body.
Thinking of getting started with EMDR? Here are 7 ways it can improve your life:
1. Gets You “Un-stuck”
Sometimes your thoughts and feelings do not connect. You KNOW what the best thing to do, think or feel would be but you find it difficult to follow.
This is because something is holding you back. As a result, you feel stuck. To help you out, EMDR can:
Uncover old memories and experiences that hold you back
Create a sense of safety so that you can discuss painful memories
Improve your awareness
Decrease your anxiety
Connect the belief about yourself to memories or past experiences
Allow you to FEEL YOUR TRUE FEELINGS without getting hijacked by them
2. Gives You Faster Results
Have you spent months or years trying therapy? Have you changed therapists? Or, do you think therapy can help you?
Research has shown that EMDR has helped patients achieve results that previously took years to happen. Depending on your history, it can be as short as 12 sessions.
But once you complete the required sessions, you will feel successful and notice a change within yourself.
3. Improves Your Relationships
Have you noticed any patterns in your relationships? Or are you struggling with romantic relationships, peers, or co-workers? There may be a reason why it is difficult for you to connect with others. EMDR has a structured process that looks at other relationships and the effect they have had on you. The therapy is done in a safe and nurturing environment to make you feel comfortable in revisiting old relationships and memories. Working through those experiences with EMDR can help change the patterns in your current relationship.
4. Heals Past Wounds
Trauma sounds like a heavy word. We all experience things differently. Regardless of how others may have responded, we have the right as individuals to feel any way we want about something that happened.
Those who are highly sensitive are more likely to have a strong stress reaction to a difficult experience. Children are especially more sensitive than adults. Something as simple as falling on the playground can feel traumatic to them.
Among the forms of trauma are:
Loss of a loved one
If you have experienced any of them, you do not have to deal with it on your own. Stop being haunted by upsetting images or thoughts. EMDR helps you move forward so that your past doesn’t affect your present.
5. Puts You Back in Control
Emotions can be scary for both kids and adults. But, it’s healthy to let them out.
Holding our emotions in creates a pressure cooker situation, where you eventually can no longer hold it in. Emotions can overwhelm you and show up as: anger, panic attacks, or depression.
What EMDR can do for you is…
It helps you face your emotions and helps you work through them. In the end, YOU control your life—not your emotions.
6. Enables You to Sleep Better
Almost all medical and mental professionals say the same thing: sleep is one of the most important factors to physical and emotional health.
But what if you can’t sleep? That makes this whole physical or mental wellness thing even more challenging. It’s a vicious cycle.
EMDR helps stop the cycle by uncovering the underlying issue that is causing the battle with your bed.
Whether it’s racing thoughts at night or recurring nightmares that wake you up and keep you up, EMDR helps stop those thoughts and improve your sense of relaxation. That way, you can have a restful night’s sleep.
7. Improves Chronic Pain
There has been extensive research that shows a history of trauma is highly correlated with chronic pain (Linton, 1997; Wuertele, Kaplan & Keairnes, 1990).
Anyone suffering with chronic pain would probably agree that the pain is a trauma in-and-of itself. The inability to have any sense of relief for extended periods of time can leave you feeling exhausted, hopeless and frustrated.
There is a way to get relief. EMDR helps decrease the level emotional distress, as well as alleviate the chronic pain itself.
About the Author
Dana Carretta-Stein is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and founder of Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling, PLLC, in Scarsdale, NY. She specializes in clinical psychotherapy to treat children, adolescents and adults with anxiety, behavior and trauma difficulties.
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