As humans, it’s in our nature for us to want our lives to go perfectly all the time. It would be ideal if nothing bad ever happened, whether it be something as simple as getting a flat tire on your way to work, or something as horrific as dealing with the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, the fact of life is that these things do happen. When more severe things happen, such as death, accidents, abuse, or other life-changing events, it’s important that we learn how to properly process them and deal with them so we can move forward and have the best chance possible at living a healthy, happy life.
Our team at Thrive is here to help our patients accomplish this by providing what is called EMDR therapy. Below, you’ll find more information about what it is and the benefits it offers. If you’ve recently experienced a life-altering event and you believe you could benefit from EMDR therapy, reach out to our team at Thrive in Southern Illinois today.
Most of the time, your body routinely manages new information and experiences without you being aware of it. However, when you are traumatized by an overwhelming event (such as a car accident) or are repeatedly subjected to distress (such as childhood abuse), your natural coping mechanisms can become overloaded. This overloading can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain or they remain "unprocessed”. Such unprocessed memories and feelings are stored in the limbic system of your brain in an emotional form. These stored traumatic memories can be continually triggered when you experience events or emotions similar to the past experiences you have been through. The memory may often be long forgotten, but painful feelings, such as anxiety, panic, anger, or despair continue to be triggered in the present. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can become inhibited. Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) helps create the connections between your brain’s memory networks, enabling your brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy technique that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols which incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches. EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages to relieve various types of psychological stresses. Below is a brief description of EMDR therapy.
The amount of time the complete treatment will take depends upon the history of the client. Complete treatment of the targets involves a three-pronged protocol (1-past memories, 2-present disturbance, 3-future actions). This protocol is useful to alleviate the symptoms and address the complete clinical picture. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process the experiences which are causing problems. In this context "processing" does not mean talking about it, "processing" refers to setting up a state which will allow negative experiences or memories to be stored appropriately within your brain. That means whatever is useful from a negative experience or memory will be learned and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations will be discarded. The goal of EMDR is to leave you with the emotions, understanding, and perspectives that will lead to healthy and useful future behaviors and interactions.
What Can You Expect From EMDR?
Typically, EMDR therapy sessions last about 90 minutes. One of our qualified Thrive therapists will move their fingers back and forth in front of your face, asking you to follow their hand motions with your eyes. While this is happening, your therapist will then ask you to recall a disturbing event that has occurred in your life. The explanation should also include details about the emotions and body sensations that occurred during the event.
After you recall this information, your therapist will gradually begin guiding your thoughts to more pleasant ones. After your session is over, your therapist will ask you to rate your distress or explain your general feelings. The goal is for the disturbing memories to become less disabling over time.
Professional EMDR Therapy | Thrive
Traumatic events can, and often do, completely change your life. Handling them properly and allowing your brain to process them correctly is critical for your future success and healing. At Thrive, our supportive team of therapists is here to help you every step of the way.
We understand the toll that these kinds of events can take on a person, and that’s why we use careful, precise techniques to aid in your healing process. With decades of experience, we know what works best to help our patients recover as quickly as possible.
To learn more about how EMDR works, it’s effectiveness, or the benefits of this targeted therapy, or to schedule an appointment in Southern Illinois, reach out to our team at Thrive today!