How EMDR Therapy for PTSD Changes Both the Mind and Body

Female,Touching,And,Tapping,Her,Shoulders,,Crossing,Hands.,Butterfly,Hug.In 1987, Dr. Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and life events that cause stress to be stored within the body. More than 30 years later, research continues to support EMDR therapy as a treatment for PTSD symptoms and other forms of trauma.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research took a unique approach by evaluating the therapy’s impact on the neuropsychological and physiological (or mind and body) responses of a sexual abuse survivor diagnosed with PTSD and major depressive disorder. The researchers tracked memory, attention, and executive functioning, plus heart rate and skin conductance, a measure of emotion and attention. The therapy successfully eased her symptoms, as well as improved her memory, attention, and heart rate.

EMDR therapy may help you with trauma-related symptoms, including forgetfulness and a racing heart. Contact Revitalize Mental Health PLLC for a free 20-minute consultation.

What Is EMDR, Exactly?

EMDR therapy helps individuals process memories from traumatizing events. The basis of EMDR therapy is the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which links the symptoms of PTSD to unprocessed memories.

The therapy utilizes bilateral stimulation (BLS) or rhythmic left-right stimulation involving eye movements, tones, or taps. When a client recalls a traumatic memory while experiencing BLS, the memory’s intensity is eased with the effect of alleviating the client’s symptoms after treatment.

Experiencing EMDR Therapy

When you participate in EMDR therapy, you’ll follow a structured multi-step protocol with your therapist:

  • First, the therapist takes your history to learn about past trauma and identify the memories to target.
  • Then, you will practice eye movements or other bilateral stimulation techniques.
  • The therapist will work together with you on assessing and activating traumatic memories by noticing what images and feelings arise from them.
  • During BLS, you will begin to process traumatic memories by focusing on a memory. The therapy continues through additional steps or until the pain associated with the memories is relieved.
  • Lastly, the therapist re-evaluates your treatment to determine if EMDR therapy has been effective.

Is EMDR Therapy Right for Me?

The American Psychological Association suggests the use of EMDR therapy for adults with PTSD. EMDR therapy is shown to help clients process memories from many types of traumas with a variety of symptoms.

To determine if EMDR therapy is right for you, contact Revitalize Mental Health PLLC through our online form or by phone at 720-295-6703 for a free 20-minute consultation.

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