You may or may not have heard of EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. Or you’ve heard of it but ask yourself “what does that even mean?” Many hear about EMDR in regard to trauma or PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). It was featured on Grey’s Anatomy to help one of the doctors process painful memories of her past that were contributing to her depression. EMDR therapy is a recommended evidence-based treatment for PTSD. EMDR is also helpful for many other diagnoses and issues.
How Does EMDR Work?
Instead of working and trying to reprocess thoughts and feelings, EMDR works to let the brain heal itself. It integrates the mind and body. Many times, when working in a top-down approach, the thoughts or cognitions are targeted. Many people who go through therapy for any length of time have worked on reframing these negative thoughts. But, they may still feel anxious or have somatic (body) sensations. EMDR therapy helps to target the brain and body and decrease disturbances in the body or mind.
EMDR is an eight-phase protocol. So, you won’t begin to process these disturbances right away. You will work together with your counselor to build “resourcing skills” or coping skills to use when emotions feel overwhelming or the thoughts seem too much. You will create a targeted plan with your counselor to narrow in on a negative belief that is linked to many of the disturbances you may be going through.
We all have several negative beliefs about ourselves. For example, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a failure,” or “I’m alone” are all negative beliefs you may hold. Sometimes, these beliefs invade our lives and contribute to us getting “stuck.” We can get stuck in a traumatic event or negative feelings. EMDR can help your brain move from having a negative belief about yourself to having a more positive belief about yourself. It doesn’t make a negative or traumatic situation go away; nothing can do that. But it can help move from a negative belief about yourself in that situation to a more adaptive belief. Something like “I’m ok as I am” or “I am able to make choices.”
Does EMDR Actually Work?
Many people are skeptical about EMDR. Many times, this has to do with the bilateral stimulation that is used. Bilateral stimulation is any kind of sensation that activates both sides of the body or brain. Often times this will be done by eye movements, where the counselor will move their hand back and forth in front of you and have you follow their hand with your eyes. Many people think this is a form of hypnosis, but it is not. Tapping on one side and then the other can be used or “tappers” which vibrate from one side to the next. Many people are cautious with this part of EMDR because it is different from talk therapy and it may feel “silly.” Once they get started though, most get comfortable with it and don’t even mind it anymore.
While EMDR is extremely effective and helpful, it can be a very emotional process. Many people work very hard at stuffing down their feelings and not feeling them. Because of the nature of EMDR therapy, it will bring up emotions. This can be very emotionally draining, but rewarding. When you experience these challenging emotions your therapist will work with you to practice coping skills that will help you handle your distress.
Begin EMDR in Greenwood, IN
Regardless of the reason that you might be interested in EMDR, our Greenwood, IN counseling clinic can help you receive all of the rewards EMDR therapy has to offer. We have caring therapists that can give you the support you deserve. If you have more questions, feel free to visit our EMDR page. To begin EMDR therapy, please follow these steps:
- Reach out to our counseling clinic and set up an appointment
- Learn more about our counseling practice and our therapy team
- Being EMDR therapy and become unstuck from the thoughts or feelings holding you back.
Other Services Offered at Renewed Hope Counseling
In addition to EMDR therapy, our Greenwood, IN counseling center offers multiple mental health services. Our therapy services include anxiety treatment, depression treatment, trauma treatment and PTSD treatment, counseling for new mothers, perinatal anxiety and mood disorders, couples therapy and marriage counseling, teen counseling, and family therapy. Our therapists provide professional EMDR certification and consultations and PMADS consultations. We also offer online therapy in Indiana to treat a variety of mental health concerns if you can’t make it into our counseling clinic. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our counseling clinic.