Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach designed to facilitate the process of accessing traumatic memories and forging new associations for information processing, new learning, elimination of emotional distress, and enhanced cognitive insights. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often creates symptoms of agitation and irritability, hypervigilance, paranoia, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, loneliness, emotional detachment, insomnia and more; EMDR therapy was created to help people work through their unresolved emotions associated with the trauma they’ve experienced so that they may move forward towards living a happier, healthier life.

EMDR works by having a therapist move their fingers side to side in front of the face while the client follows these hand motions with their eyes. At the same time, the therapist will ask the client to recall a disturbing event, sometimes involving emotions and physical sensations to arise. Gradually, the therapist will work with the client to shift their thoughts to more positive ones while continuing to follow their hand movements. Oftentimes, the very movement of the fingers is a way for the brain to reprocess information towards the here and now, helping many people lower their symptoms of distress with each session. For example, a 2015 study published in the journal Annals of Depression and Anxiety involved the use of EMDR on several participants; one participant described her experience with EMDR and her association of traumatic memories as this,

It’s as if there was a screen between me and this scene. I’m still a spectator, but no longer a powerless victim.”

Another participant utilized EMDR therapy to help treat her panic attacks associated with painful memories. She stated,

I can see these events lining up one after the other as records, and, the more I see them clearly, the less sad I feel.”

Each session lasts approximately 90 minutes, but the number of sessions depends on the client’s individual needs. PTSD can often cause individuals to become engulfed in their traumatic past – taking away from their happiness, vitality, and future. If you haven’t yet, consider seeking treatment for your symptoms of PTSD and through the use of EMDR therapy. Recovery is possible.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



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