How does EMDR therapy compare?

How does EMDR therapy compare?

Around 60% of men and 50% of women have lived through a traumatic event in their lifetime, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

These experiences can cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can cause you to feel stuck in the past. That’s where Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can be beneficial.

Unlike other therapies, EMDR uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, such as tapping or repetitive sounds.

“EMDR therapy helps your brain process trauma by reframing traumatic memories,” explains Melissa Howard-Argall, a psychotherapist at Aurora Health Care. “This is done by focusing on the identified trauma and the external stimuli of the tasks while the brain alternates between sides and promotes emotional processing.”

While moving your eyes left to right, you will be asked to think about the trauma. This allows new associations to be made with the traumatic memory which promotes healing.

You may experience relief from traumatic memories in as little as one reprocessing session. However, every individual is different. Sometimes several sessions are needed to notice a difference.

“As you continue with EMDR therapy, the associated pain and stress tends to fade over time,” says Howard-Argall. “Your therapist will evaluate your progress at the end of each session.”

In addition to PTSD, EMDR therapy can also effectively treat anxiety, depression, phobias and addictions.

“Like other forms of therapies, EMDR therapy can be done virtually with a trained therapist just as effectively as in-person sessions,” says Howard-Argall.

Looking for a behavioral health provider? Find care where you live here: Wisconsin | Illinois

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is an external communications specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her bachelor's degree in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in health care public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.