Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Trauma sufferers of all kinds – from childhood trauma, abuse, losses, war, accidents, to bushfires and other natural disasters – can find themselves experiencing symptoms that just won’t go away. These may include generalised anxiety, struggling to naturally connect with others, sleeping problems, withdrawal, depression, and a sense of life just not flowing well and enjoyably.
Trauma occurs when a deeply distressing experience overwhelms one’s ability to cope, and a person feels unable to process and file the memories as they may seem too distressing. This can have far-reaching consequences such as ongoing feelings of helplessness, a sense of being a stranger in the world and struggling to feel the full range of emotions including joy and relaxation. If this sounds like you, don’t lose hope! There are various therapeutic systems with which trauma symptoms can improve and quality of life restored. One of these is EMDR.
In the hands of a trained psychologist, a person is able to process the trauma memories safely so that they no longer hold so much sway over one’s life. This leads to a peaceful resolution resulting in increased insight regarding both of the previously disturbing event(s) as well as the negative thoughts about one’s self that have grown out of the original traumatic event. The trauma is processed in a safe and measured way, and this allows the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution. Research has shown over and over that through bilateral stimulation, a natural healing process is facilitated and completed in the safe environment of your therapist’s room.
According to the EMDR Research Foundation, “EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy includes a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.”
EMDR therapy has become a more common treatment in recent years as a treatment option for people suffering from anxiety, panic, PTSD, or trauma. There are now over 30 gold standard studies documenting the effectiveness of EMDR therapy over the past 30 years with issues such as rape and sexual abuse, combat trauma, childhood trauma and neglect, life-threatening accidents, and symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. The EMDR Institute, Inc., note that some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions.