E.M.D.R (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)
This is something that I have been meaning to blog about for awhile. EMDR therapy is a wonderful form of therapy. Especially if you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (like me), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Like Nikki), BiPolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. If regular "Talk Therapy" has not been working well for you of if you feel you have hit a road block with it, you should seek out EMDR and talk to a practicing clinician.
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and unresolved life experiences. It's not a shock therapy, nor do you need to take Medication. As a matter of fact I know two people personally who are BiPolar, have been for most of their lives, and have been on medication for years. And after a few sessions of EMDR they are living normal lives free of medication.
One of the great things about EMDR is that one session is equal to one year of talk therapy. So the majority of people do 3 or 4 sessions and then rarely have to go back.
The theory underlying EMDR treatment is that it works by helping the sufferer process distressing memories more fully which reduces the distress. EMDR is based on a theoretical information processing model which posits that symptoms arise when events are inadequately processed, and can be eradicated when the memory is fully processed. EMDR's most unique aspect is an unusual component of bilateral stimulation of the brain, such as eye movements, bilateral sound, or bilateral tactile stimulation coupled with cognition's, visualized images and body sensation. EMDR also utilizes dual attention awareness to allow the individual to vacillate between the traumatic material and the safety of the present moment. This prevents retraumatization from exposure to the disturbing memory.
One of the Theories for EMDR is that eye movements provide some neurological and psychological effects that enhance the processing of traumatic memories. (Such as REM Sleep, where your body processes what you did that day.)
According to Francine Shapiro's theory, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm usual ways of coping and the memory of the event is inadequately processed; the memory is dysfunctionally stored in an isolated memory network. When this memory network is activated, the individual may re-experience aspects of the original event, often resulting in inappropriate overreactions. This explains why people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic incident may have recurring sensory flashbacks, thoughts, beliefs, or dreams. An unprocessed memory of a traumatic event can retain high levels of sensory and emotional intensity, even though many years may have passed.
EMDR uses a structured eight-phase approach and addresses the past, present, and future aspects of the dysfunctionally stored memory. During the processing phases of EMDR, the client attends to the disturbing memory in multiple brief sets of about 15–30 seconds, while simultaneously focusing on the dual attention stimulus (e.g., therapist-directed lateral eye movements, alternate hand-tapping, or bilateral auditory tones). Following each set of such dual attention, the client is asked what associative information was elicited during the procedure. This new material usually becomes the focus of the next set. This process of alternating dual attention and personal association is repeated many times during the session. (Mosts sessions last an hour and a half.)
It is thought that the distressing memory is transformed when new connections are forged with more positive and realistic information. This results in a transformation of the emotional, sensory, and cognitive components of the memory so that, when it is accessed, the individual is no longer distressed. Instead he/she recalls the incident with a new perspective, new insight, resolution of the cognitive distortions, elimination of emotional distress, and relief.
Based on the evidence of controlled research both the practice guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense have placed EMDR in the highest category of effectiveness and research support in the treatment of trauma. This status is reflected in a number of international guidelines where EMDR is a recommended treatment for trauma. In many cases EMDR has been proven to be more effective than Medication, traditional exposure therapy and Cognitive behavioral therapy.
For me personally EMDR even helped me to remember past events that I had forgotten. It completely removed my Anxiety attacks. And since the techniques can be used when I am at home without a therapist they have helped me with many other aspects of my life. (When I do my EMDR exercises while I am studying some scriptures that I really want to reach my heart, it usually helps me get a deeper understanding of the subject by helping me see where in my life it relates.) Kinda hard to explain but it's like it helps my brain process the information in a way that makes is stick.
If I could afford EMDR sessions now I know I wouldn't have to be on medication. (It's only 90 dollars a session normally.) The therapist I went to would go to work in the prisons with Child Molesters and Rapists. She may not have been able to cure them from what they do, but with EMDR she was able to help them understand Why they do what they do. To me...that's pretty powerful.
I strongly recommend this form of therapy to anyone. Do some research on it. This book EMDR: The Breakthrough "Eye Movement" Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma(I'm a link!) Is wonderful. It's real life cases that EMDR has been used in. I guarantee it will make anyone with depression realize that there is a long term solution. (Read the comments about it from one's who have read it!)
I would love to answer any questions regarding this. Email me at email@example.com