Improving The Counseling Process

Improving The Counseling Process

4 Facts About Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

by Martin Franklin

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a popular yet relatively new form of psychotherapy that changes the brain's functions when it encounters certain thoughts. Do you want to try EMDR to treat your mental illness? Learn a little more about the process with these 4 facts about EMDR. 

1. EMDR emerged in 1987 as a PTSD treatment. 

Dr. Francine Shapiro first theorized about the equalizing effect of eye movements in 1987 after she recognized the positive impact controlled eye movements had on her own emotions when she experienced unpleasant memories. Dr. Shapiro started performing small studies and publishing her results. Her new technique started gaining steam, resulting in larger studies and increased publicity. Now, EMDR is one of the most popular psychotherapy methods available. 

2. EMDR works by changing the brain's reaction to certain triggers. 

EMDR creates bilateral cognitive activity. First, therapists introduce a trigger to the patient. The patient processes the trigger, generating anxiety or other signs of physical distress. The therapist will then introduce the patient to a secondary cognitive function along with the memory, such as following a pen with the eyes, that creates a calming effect on the brain. The introduction of the typical cognitive activity balances the anxiety caused by the original stimuli. The therapist will continue the process for months until the patient no longer exhibits anxiety at the original trigger. 

3. EMDR treats more than PTSD. 

EMDR was solely used for PTSD for years. However, recent studies suggest that EMDR can treat much more than PTSD. 

EMDR can also treat these additional disorders:

  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Depression
  • OCD
  • Chronic pain
  • Addiction
  • Phobias 
  • Psychosis 
  • Eating disorders

We are still learning new uses for EMDR as the psychology community continues to experiment and report their findings. 

4. EMDR generates better results than cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 

CBT was once the favored psychotherapy technique. CBT aims to replace bad obsessive thoughts with more positive thoughts through repetition and practice. CBT does not use eye movements. Furthermore, CBT requires patients to divulge more of the trauma they want to face, whereas patients don't need to reveal details to the doctor during EMDR. 

Studies show that more patients see positive results with EMDR than with CBT. They tend to show results more quickly and create longer-lasting results. Ultimately, both EMDR and CBT effectively treat anxiety and depression. Talk to your therapist to determine if EMDR is the right treatment for you. 

For more information on EMDR therapy, contact a professional near you.


About Me

Improving The Counseling Process

As a lifetime sufferer of depression, I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. One thing that I learned early on was the importance of having a good attitude and trying to figure out how to cope with some of the suggestions that my counselors gave me. I realized that when it came to having a good experience, the bulk of the responsibility fell in my lap. I started working hard to take their suggestions in stride and carefully analyze my life and my behavior. This blog is all about improving the counseling process by having a better attitude.