Treating PTSD with EMDR Therapy: 3 Reasons Why It’s Successful

I say it time and time again. But I really want you to know that you are not alone.

I want you to understand that you deserve more than a daily routine of reopening traumatic old wounds. Or simply surviving the attached emotions.

Dealing with PTSD is not easy. And is definitely not something you need to do without help.

Trauma that just won’t let you go requires effective treatment. Ideally, a treatment that won’t force you to rehash the worst periods in your life for too long or too often.

You long to move forward. I want to help.

Talk therapy isn’t the only way to treat PTSD

While specific, proven trauma treatment is necessary for PTSD, it needn’t be a socially stigmatizing, redundantly troubling, or even highly verbal process. Talk therapy isn’t the only method for processing your pain and memories. An effective and increasingly more well-known treatment can relieve your mind and body.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a safe and proven PTSD treatment. It is capable of addressing trauma significantly, often in ways that traditional therapy methods do not. In fact, some research suggests that EMDR therapy may be able to soothe the aftereffects of personal crises, unexpected tragedies, and circumstances of persistent neglect in half the time of other trauma treatments.

So, what exactly makes EMDR therapy such a successful trauma treatment?

1. EMDR therapy is a complete and accurate therapeutic process.

The EMDR therapy Network describes the method’s objectives this way:

“The goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems and to include new ones that are needed for full health. “Processing” does not mean talking about it. “Processing,” means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be “digested” and stored appropriately in your brain. That means that what is useful to you from an experience will be learned, and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future.”  

Basically, PTSD has created a situation in which trauma has become a part of you. However, the way you’ve incorporated the traumatic experience is unhealthy and problematic for your emotional forward movement.

You may be experiencing disruptive thoughts, rollercoaster emotions, uncomfortable bodily sensations, or other unhelpful responses that suggest you’re unsuccessfully managing undigested trauma.

Don’t beat yourself up for being unable to resolve this on your own or for considering help now. EMDR allows you the opportunity to face your fears and feelings directly, holistically, and accurately. This accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. Most treatments last an average of 8 weeks, with participants reporting a lasting and very satisfactory result.

2. EMDR therapy employs the brain’s natural inclination to heal itself

Often, emotional resistance and mental blocks can obstruct healthy, expedient trauma recovery. EMDR therapy is such a helpful approach because it supports the core belief that the mind wants to heal. Such healing does not need a prolonged, protracted process to be effective.

When your therapist identifies a mental block, EMDR therapy may prove helpful for relieving the stress and easing the anxiety of trauma. This happens in a completely natural and sustainable manner. Essentially, EMDR therapy helps reestablish thought processes and cognitive reasoning that already come naturally to you and may not have been easily restored by other trauma treatments.

In effect, EMDR therapy facilitates important mental connections. How?

Dual Attention Stimulation (DAS). To sort out and transform your emotional responses to traumatic thoughts and memories, this standardized treatment strategy focuses on past memories while staying present in the moment.

EMDR creator and developer Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., explains:

“Specific procedures are used to help clients maintain a sense of control during memory work as the therapist guides their focus of attention. They need only focus briefly on the disturbing memory during the processing while engaged in the bilateral stimulation (eye movements, taps or tones) as the internal associations are made. The client’s brain makes the needed links as new emotions, sensations, beliefs, and memories emerge. All the work is done during the therapy sessions. It is not necessary for the client to describe the memory in detail, and no homework is used.”

Amazingly, several studies indicate that nearly 80% of single-trauma victims experience significant relief from PTSD. Many feel better after engaging in as few as 3, 90-minute EMDR sessions.

3. EMDR therapy elicits immediate relief as well as ongoing recovery.

Trauma is especially devastating to some people because it fosters a persistent sense of helplessness or feeling out of control. Together, you and your therapist will use EMDR therapy sessions to redirect eye movements connected in your mind to the trauma. This therapy is direct and unambiguous, thus, you will likely find that the relief and comprehension gained by the EMDR process is yours alone and not derived from the interpretation of your therapist.

EMDR therapy is both a safe and empowering procedure. You will likely feel more receptive and emotionally aware as time goes on. If you run into any roadblocks, you can always schedule another session. EMDR therapy allows you to improve your perspective and engage more beneficial decision-making. In a short amount of time, you’ll find yourself moving forward… a healthier, less reactive, calm version of yourself.

Take the Next Step…

PTSD can take up residence in your life for a very long time. But only if you let it. The first step to regaining control of your life and happiness is to accept that you have a problem. Then, you can accept the help that will make recovery possible.

The first step to regaining control of your life and happiness is to accept that you have a problem. The next step is accepting the help that will make recovery possible.

You deserve to live a life liberated from trauma. You have a right to recover. With EMDR therapy, you can achieve lasting clarity, sustainable peace, and a future with less emotional baggage.

Talk to me about EMDR therapy. It’s time to release your fear. Relax the grip the past has on your world and restore your ability to live life well.

To find out more about my services click here: PTSD Treatment

About The Author

April Lyons, MA, LPC is a somatic psychotherapist and currently owns a private practice in Boulder, CO. She specializes in PTSD, eating disorders and child counseling. April is trained in EMDR Therapy, Trauma Informed Care, and is certified as a Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapist. To find out more about April click herePsychotherapy Boulder.

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