70% of American adults have experienced at least 1 traumatic event in their lives. This equals 223.4 million people, many of whom haven’t resolved that trauma yet either.
If you’re one of these people, perhaps you’ve done some preliminary research yourself. And one of the solutions you’ve heard about is eye movement desensitization therapy.
Are you curious about this therapy? Then you’re in the right place. Read on to find out more about it.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
“EMDR” stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing“. As the name suggests, this is a therapy that utilizes the mechanical motion of your eyes moving back and forth.
More specifically, EMDR therapists will ask you to think of a traumatic memory. While you’re holding this memory in your mind, the therapist will then move their finger back and forth of your eyes, causing you to look left and right repeatedly. This eye movement is supposed to help you heal from trauma.
EMDR therapy was accidentally discovered back in 1987 by psychologist Francine Shapiro. She was out walking in the woods and had a bought of anxiety. But she found that while looking back and forth at the scenery, her anxiety went away.
Back in her private practice, Dr. Shapiro tried out this technique on her patients. She discovered that this type of therapy worked, and thus was how EMDR therapy was born.
Does Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy Work?
Now, EMDR therapy might sound like something out of quack medicine. Surely it can’t be that easy to heal from trauma. It sounds like fake hypnotherapy where someone watches a swinging pocket watch and then succumbs to that person’s wishes.
The explanation above is actually a very simplified description of EMDR therapy. In reality, there are 8 phases, and complete treatment can take between 6 to over 12 sessions, so it’s something you’ll have to work hard at.
Some preliminary studies have shown that it’s better than not seeking any therapy at all. Many patients have claimed that their anxiety and PTSD symptoms were alleviated from EMDR therapy.
However, you shouldn’t let this replace behavior and cognitive-behavioral therapies. These are very effective for treating a number of mental health issues, so if anything, you should give these a try first. EMDR should only be used as a supplement to psychotherapy, as this is what will truly help you process trauma.
Give EMDR Therapy a Try
As you can see, eye movement desensitization therapy can actually work. So if you’ve been struggling with some difficult thoughts and/or trauma, you should see if this is the best therapy for you, especially if you’re already in some sort of therapy. It wouldn’t hurt to try, so it’s worth it to give a therapist a call and see if they can help you with EMDR therapy and finally move on with your life.
If you need help finding the best therapist, then read our articles to find some helpful information.