EMDR therapy: process traumas instead of displacing them
Originally used for trauma control, EMDR therapy is becoming increasingly popular. For the processing of previously suppressed experiences is followed by a feeling of liberation.
In the course of life, man experiences countless moments – positive, but also negative. By nature, one tends to displace unpleasant experiences. That may be fine for years. Or the problems settle down and develop into mental barriers that stand in the way of the future.
EMDR stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing” and can be translated into desensitization and processing by eye movement. The method has its origins in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder but is becoming increasingly popular nowadays. For a good reason: The therapy is similar to hypnosis and helps to work on long-repressed experiences. Because apart from pronounced traumas, many mental health problems can be attributed to burdens in the past.
This is where EMDR therapy should help. Through special eye movements, the information center in the brain can be stimulated to process repressed memories. The prerequisite: You have to face your fears and traumas.
When and to whom does the EMDR method help?
Previously, EMDR therapy was used exclusively against acute and chronic trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. In recent years, however, it has been found that the method can help with many problems. Today it is used:
- anxiety disorders
- Chronic pain
- Developmental and behavioral disorders in children
- fatigue syndrome
How does EMDR therapy work?
For EMDR treatment to work, it should be used as part of long-term psychotherapy. It is important for success that the therapist and the patient already know each other and have discovered together the origin of current problems and possible unprocessed traumas.
This is not so easy – because often you do not even know for a long time that certain events of the past are still affecting today’s life. It is easy to underestimate to what extent supposedly hassle-free experiences influence the present and action.
On this basis, the EMDR treatment begins. The therapist asks the patient to conjure up a memory and to relive it gently. On both sides, the eyes are then guided horizontally with a finger, similar to the hypnosis. The double, fast eye movements are intended as stimulation for the processing of repressed or traumatic experiences.
The process is repeated several times. After each time, the experience is discussed until the associated burden is released.
By the eye movement not only negative can be processed, but also positive impulses are set. The goal is that the patient leaves the session with a good feeling. A treatment can take up to 90 minutes. Patients usually feel liberated but exhausted and should take some rest.
The exact treatment plan is based on the individual problem. The sessions are repeated as needed. At the same time, the EMDR therapy is always chronological: first, the therapist and the patient devote themselves to stressful experiences from the past. Only then will the resulting current problems be dealt with in order to finally turn to the future and related fears. For example, avoidance strategies that hinder us in life and deep-rooted problems can be permanently solved.