How EMDR Therapy Works: Learn to Rewire Your Brain and Redefine Your Past, Present, and Future
If you’re at all like many of the clients I help every day and you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, insomnia, or the upsetting memories caused by abuse, neglect, or other traumatic events, then you already know all too well the debilitating effects these issues can have on your relationships and your life.
Until fairly recently, you only really had three options … You could keep on “keeping on” and try to muddle your way through life as well as possible. You could try improving your quality of life through modern medicine by treating only the symptoms of these issues. Or you could try to overcome these issues once and for all by spending months, or even years, in professional counseling and psychotherapy.
Fortunately, a relatively new, non-traditional, interactive therapy technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), has been shown time and time again to be extremely effective at helping people just like you overcome anxiety and stress, panic attacks, depression, post-traumatic stress, phobias, and chronic pain.
In fact, EMDR therapy is often referred to as a breakthrough technique due to its being a relatively simple, short-term, non-invasive treatment that provides safe, effective, and lasting healing.
How Does EMDR Treatment Work?
When we experience extreme anxiety, stress, abuse, or some other traumatic event, the experience becomes stored in our brains with all of the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that accompanied the event.
In my experience as a therapist, it’s quite common for people to come to me seeking help with anxiety, depression, or relationship issues, only to unearth the traumatic roots of these issues during the course of our work together.
Unfortunately, our brains are often unable to process traumatic experiences effectively and the thoughts and feelings associated with these events become “trapped” in our nervous systems. It is this unconscious, trapped distress that interrupts our normal emotional and daily functioning.
When painful memories are avoided, they retain their power.
During EMDR treatment, I’ll help you consciously focus on an uncomfortable memory or emotion while you simultaneously experience some form of bilateral stimulation – this typically involves you moving your eyes back and forth in a rhythmic manner similar to that of REM sleep, but may also include auditory tones or tapping.
By simultaneously focusing on the bilateral stimulation, you can bring difficult or painful thoughts or memories to your conscious attention while reducing your reaction to them, which allows you to re-experience those upsetting memories in new ways, redefine your past and present, and move forward with confidence and optimism!
Can EMDR Therapy Help You?
While EMDR treatment has been shown to be particularly effective for people who are struggling with trauma and PTSD, EMDR is also being used by countless clinicians to help people effectively cope with, and overcome, a variety of mental health issues, including:
- Panic attacks
- Anger management issues
- Eating disorders
EMDR can also be extremely helpful for those struggling with the stress of chronic pain or illness, as well as helping those who are looking to increase their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Perhaps best of all, the healing and insight clients gain from EMDR treatment come from their own improved mental and emotional processes, and that healing often comes in a fraction of the time of more traditional “talk” therapy.
In other words, EMDR treatment doesn’t just help you heal old wounds, it helps you transform the experiences that once caused you to feel like a victim into sources of personal empowerment. EMDR, quite literally, helps you learn to rewire your own brain.
When all is said and done, if you’re looking to relieve emotional distress, overcome trauma, achieve greater clarity, peace of mind, and a sense of personal power and control, EMDR treatment is definitely worth more than a quick sideways or passing glance!
If you have any questions about this article, or if I may be of any other assistance, please feel free to contact me at (949) 310-2311 with any questions you may have or to schedule a free, initial phone consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.