Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful psychological treatment that has been used effectively over the past 20 years in a variety of international and cultural contexts for many types of psychological disorders.
Scientific research has established EMDR as an effective approach to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clinicians have also successfully used EMDR as an important component in the treatment of the following conditions:
EMDR is the processing of information in a technical-therapeutic way that incorporates the eight-step approach:
- Customer history, treatment planning, preparation and evaluation
- Desensitization and installation
- Body scanning and closure
During the EMDR session, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as a target/ focus for the treatment session. Thus, the client draws attention to a disturbing event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc. From that moment on, the therapist will begin eye movements or other bilateral stimulation. These movements are used until the memory becomes less disturbing, moving on to the association with positive thinking and belief about oneself.
This is a treatment that helps recreate what happens during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), a phase of sleep that is psychologically restorative. During this process, the patient thinks/visualizes/feels the specific event. This happens by using a variety of techniques and interventions. The physical reconstruction of REM sleep eye movements associated with the thoughts and images of the event helps the brain structures to work together with the body to situate the event/memories in the past.
One or more sessions are necessary for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. The therapist will also explain the technique as well as given the opportunity for the patient to ask questions.
The type of problem/challenges, the circumstances of life and the revelation of previous traumas will determine how many sessions will be needed in the treatment.
The treatment is focused on the symptoms and conducted in the session. Results with EMDR are noticed in a short time. Studies show that 77 to 90% of patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were able to eliminate their symptoms after 3 to 7 EMDR sessions. The benefits of EMDR also involve improved cognition and creativity.
The history of EMDR is directly linked to this name: Francine Shapiro, the contemporary psychologist, and creator of EMDR therapy. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Professional School of Psychological Studies in San Diego, California.
She was one of the great senior researchers at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, and she was best known for the development of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a psychotherapy method that relieves symptoms in people who have experienced a traumatic event. EMDR benefits patients on all continents through the training and education of qualified therapists.
In Brazil, this activity is performed by psychologists and doctors therapists duly trained by TraumaClinic of Brazil.
Why subject yourself to EMDR?
Often, disturbing events happen in our lives and these contents remain with us. The brain cannot process the information as it normally does. The brain can then instantly become "frozen in time" and the memory of the trauma can be felt repeatedly as if the individual is experiencing the event for the first time. This is because images, sounds, smells, and sensations still seem to be there - they have not changed. Such memories have a negative and lasting effect, thus interfering with how a person sees the world and intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships.
EMDR HAS A POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE WAY THE BRAIN PROCESSES INFORMATION.
After a few sessions, the person does not relive the trauma. The individual still remembers that an incident happened, but this is no longer felt as a disturbing event.
Evidence underpinning EMDR
EMDR is one of the most researched psychotherapeutic approaches to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Controlled clinical studies claim that EMDR reduces or eliminates PTSD symptoms in most patients effectively and efficiently. Research also emphasizes the use of EMDR for depression and anxiety, as well as other conditions with excellent results.
Thus, EMDR is a powerful tool also for the treatment of chronic pain syndromes, since there are comorbidities associated with mood and anxiety disorders.