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PTSD Therapy with EMDR

PTSD Therapy with EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Or EMDR

stock image of two women talking with one of them placing her head in the palm of one of her hands

 Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or EMDR is a therapy technique that is used to treat patients who are troubled by traumatic memories. The technique focuses on the emotions and negative feelings triggered by trauma.

EMDR is most commonly used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD but has also seen preliminary application to phobias and other conditions that trigger anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and so on. We focus in this post on PTSD.

How does EMDR work with PTSD?

 EMDR focuses on dealing with the negative feelings associated with trauma so that the patient can get past and replace them with positive emotions and much more positive and adaptive ideas.

The usual aim is to equip patients to handle stressful memories and other reminders of traumatic experiences with greater ease.

The treatment starts by proper planning and preparation. These steps encourage trust and encourage patients to talk about their inner selves and the fears that plague their lives. Once the patient opens up, the negative feelings are assessed, and the therapist and the patient begin determining which positive thoughts with which to replace such painful feelings.

After assessment comes desensitization involving the eye movement technique. In the eye movement technique, the therapist presents a traumatic image or memory for the patient to focus on while guiding the patient’s eyes from side to side, akin to the motion of a pendulum swing only at a faster pace. Theoretically, this side-to-side eye movement begins to inhibit painful thoughts and emotions.

The patient is then assessed by an emotional scan to see whether the strength of the negative reactions has diminished and the strength of the positive substitutions has increased. This process continues in a progression from less to more disturbing memories until the patient can remember all aspects of the trauma without undue stress or emotional pain.

Therapists in Denver and Nearby Who Specialize in EMDR