EMDR Therapy May Hold The Key To Freedom From Traumatic Memories

If you've had one or more traumatic experiences in your life that have left you with bad memories that continue to negatively impact your mental health, EMDR therapy may help you move past these events. EMDR, which stands for eye movement desensitizing and reprocessing, is a therapy technique that offers an interactive way to process traumatic memories in your mind so that they don't affect you as much. A mental health professional who offers EMDR therapy may suggest this treatment if they believe that you will benefit from it the most.

How does EMDR therapy work? 

A mental health professional who has been trained to administer EMDR therapy safely will sit with you and ask you to recall a traumatic memory. As you focus on this distressing event in your mind, the therapist will guide you through a series of side-to-side eye movements. The eye movements produce a physiological effect that is intended to help your mind process the traumatic memories better and lessen their negative effects on your psyche. When you recall these memories in the future, you'll likely notice that you don't feel as traumatized by them. EMDR therapy may even put an end to nightmares that force you to relive traumatic episodes.

Will recalling the traumatic memories during therapy cause even more mental distress?

As scary as remembering a traumatic event may seem, your therapist will be there to guide you through the therapy safely. You'll only be asked to remember the event briefly, and the side-to-side eye movements that you'll perform will likely put you into a calmer state quickly. Your brain should start to process the negative thoughts in your mind better during therapy so that they no longer overwhelm you with fear, anxiety, or other negative feelings. 

Can EMDR therapy be used to treat other mental health conditions? 

EMDR was first designed to treat people who have experienced traumatic events and suffer from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the therapy has also been proven to work well in treating other mental health conditions. Studies have shown EMDR therapy's effectiveness in treating depression and panic disorders in some patients. People who experience hallucinations, paranoia, and other forms of psychosis have also reported promising outcomes with EMDR therapy.   

If traumatic memories continue to dominate much of your life, EMDR therapy may offer you hope. A mental health service provider who practices EMDR therapy can give you more detailed information about this treatment and let you know if the therapy will be right for you.

Contact a local EMDR therapist to learn more.