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How Effective Is EMDR In Healing Trauma?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing has gained a lot of prominence in the last two decades as a sustainable, effective treatment course for a range of PTSD/ Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.

Who can benefit from EMDR?

EMDR has a varied range of applications, and it can be administered on children over the age of 5, adolescents, teens, and adults with equal affectivity. Many problems can be addressed by EMDR apart from post-traumatic stress disorders. People suffering from extreme grief due to personal loss or death of a loved one or frontline workers (police, safety services, etc.) who have been traumatized in some way can benefit from this therapy. Child sex abuse survivors, rape victims, arson survivors, accident victims, and people who have been through complicated divorces and separation periods can benefit. When correctly administered, EMDR can help fight addictions, panic, anxiety, phobia, stress, eating disorder, nervous attacks, and even schizophrenia.

Brief History of EMDR

The famous psychiatrist and researcher Shapiro Francis developed EMDR, and this line of treatment has helped millions all over the globe escape from their mental illnesses. EMDR is superior to other forms of treatment in the field of psychotherapy when it comes to treating any psychological trauma. Shapiro's famous book Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures, is a global bestseller and has richly detailed all the 8 phases of EMDR psychotherapy. EMDR can reframe the person's memories and thought processes in the context of the traumatic incident. Due to the gradual but paradigm shift in vantage view, EMDR lessens the signs of PTSD and allows the victim to lead a more fruitful life. EMDR international association (EMDRIA0) includes more than 4000 trained professionals all across the world.

How does EMDR Work?

EMDR works by helping the victim overcome mental blocks and raw pain centers that come with distancing the self from the traumatic incident. EMDR first helps the victim in reliving a traumatic event in a milder form in a briefer time span. A trained therapist directs the eye movements of the victim and keeps up a distraction level. EMDR theory hinges on the fact that exposure to traumatic incidents lose their sharp edge when the victim is distracted when recalling its memories. Usually, a full-fledged EMDR based treatment plan is broken into 8 phases consisting of 12 separate sessions. The sessions start with reviewing the history of patient and trauma and then progress to systematic stages of planning, assessment, treatment, and then evaluations.

Patients who have been through EMDR therapy can integrate negative emotions, body reactions, and behavior patterns in a better way. The treatment also teaches new and personalized ways of coping and makes the patient strong enough to handle life challenges. Some of the coping skills learned by EMDR are healthy behavior, enhanced understanding, and positive thinking. EMDR works on the Adaptive Information Processing model that rests on the fundamental belief that mental health sustenance needs positive experiences. An individual can handle fresh challenges when e brain is trained to process the traumatic incident.

The Department of Veterans holds EMDR therapy as one of the best recommended treatment plans for PTSD. Naturally, EMDR can only be administered by a team of highly specialized counselors and psychologists. Our clinic in San Diego has a specialized team that offers EMDR for PTSD relief and management.

What happens in an EMDR Session?

At our trusted psychology center in San Diego, we have therapist teams who are sensitive to cross-cultural and gender variances in patients and show remarkable sensitivity when dealing with survivors of PTSD. The therapist first helps the patient see and visualize an image connected to the trauma and examine the range of emotions displayed. The client is taught to identify positive thoughts too and then coached on the destruction of negative thinking and uncomfortable body symptoms that are experienced as a form of PTSD.

The therapist moves the eyes back and forth or focuses on finger movement to keep the client distracted. In 99% of cases, the patients mimic the expressions and acts of the therapists. An analogy of the REM sleep is enacted here, and there begins a deep-rooted change in the brain's circuitry, making the emotional memories milder.

Understanding the traumatic memory in the broader context of life and not being overwhelmed with it besides the removal of an overly emotional response to the incident are few of the common goals of the treatment.

Contact us today!

Author
Dr. Neda Khodaparast Neda Khodaparast, PsyD, QME, is the founder and CEO of The Green Room Psychological Services Inc. in San Diego, California. Dr. Khodaparast earned her doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in Boston. She has over 15 years in clinical practice providing individual and couple therapy, as well as conducting forensic evaluations for personal injuries, civil cases, immigration evaluations, and pre surgical clearance psychological evaluations. She has also been conducting medical-legal worker’s compensation evaluations as a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) Since 2014. Dr. Khodaparast specializes in utilizing psychodynamic orientation and focuses on treating trauma and PTSD including childhood sexual and physical abuse, sexual assualt’s survivors, war truama, as well as eating disorders, and adoption related issues. She appreciates the complexity of human’s psyche and understands the process and the importance of “meeting the patients where they at.”

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