First, I will explain EMDR and who can provide EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a protocol based therapy to provide relief from Addictions, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, Depression, OCD, PTSD and other distressing life experiences. EMDR has been extensively researched and requires that a therapist obtain extensive, speciality training to use the protocol. For example, I obtained 50 hours of training and consultation to begin using EMDR. I then became a certified EMDR therapist after obtaining an additional 20 hours of consultation and 12 hours of advanced training in EMDR as well as a required number of sessions working with clients using EMDR.
What happens in an EMDR session?
The client will be asked to briefly focus on a target memory and at the same time engage in bilateral stimulation, traditionally eye movements. Use of bilateral stimulation while focusing on the memory allows for a decrease in the vividness and emotion associated with the experience. You will be asked questions throughout the treatment to help with the reprocessing and track your progress. The memories are then “unstuck” from the part of the brain that is not adaptive and move the memories to the part of the brain that is adaptive. One can consider it a “reboot” of the brain.
My personal experience as a therapist is that the relief is much quicker than with traditional talk therapy and the clients express gratitude for the relief on a frequent basis. However, I must say everyone is different and it helps in varying degrees for each person. Some may feel relief in one or two sessions and others may need more time to experience relief. A lot of people have received relief from EMDR. In fact, since 2016 more than 7 million people have been treated successfully with EMDR by 110,000 therapists in 130 countries.