How EMDR Works – Simply Thoughts Counseling in Austin


How EMDR Works: Mechanism and Analysis-backed Efficacy

By Diana Schaefer, LCSW and William Schroeder, LPC


How EMDR works is a query that comes up generally and there’s a lot that goes into this reply. Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an revolutionary therapeutic approach that has captured consideration inside the psychological group. Again in 2013, when Diana Schaefer, LCSW turned an authorized EMDR therapist, she noticed that whereas conventional speak therapies yielded optimistic outcomes, there have been circumstances the place sufferers acknowledged their patterns but struggled to alter them. Apparently, the interaction between the emotional right-side and the logical left-side of our brains performs a pivotal function on this.

The Mind’s Hemispheric Divide and EMDR

Analysis has illuminated the distinct roles performed by the mind’s two hemispheres in how EMDR works. The appropriate hemisphere is proficient in decoding symbols, pictures, and sensory stimuli, but it surely typically operates with out the linguistic understanding of the left hemisphere. This dichotomy is clear in on a regular basis experiences. For example, even when somebody understands the significance of a balanced weight loss plan (left mind’s logical understanding), they could nonetheless crave sugary treats or fried meals pushed by the pleasure-seeking proper mind. EMDR acts as a bridge, facilitating communication between these two mind hemispheres.

What Precisely is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a specialised remedy aiming to course of and combine distressing recollections from previous traumas in a approach that they not set off disproportionate emotional reactions. Bilateral stimulation whereas following a selected protocol and remedy plan is a part of the method of remedy.

The Underpinning Idea of EMDR

Reminiscence storage in our mind influences our perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. When distressing recollections change into entrenched in our neural pathways, they’ll induce persistent misery. Whereas many traumas naturally fade with time, some linger and proceed to misery a person. How EMDR phrases is that it assists within the adaptive decision of those lingering recollections, encompassing experiences from the previous, their present implications, and potential results.

The EMDR Course of

Throughout an EMDR session, the therapist commences with info assortment, pinpoints the distressing points, after which introduces bilateral stimulation, adopted by suggestions.

Bilateral stimulation, the cornerstone of EMDR, includes activating each mind hemispheres via synchronized left-right patterns. This may be achieved via eye actions (following the therapist’s fingers), tactile stimuli (vibrating tappers alternating between palms), and generally auditory cues (beeps alternating between ears). Analysis underscores that every one these bilateral stimulation strategies are comparably efficient. The selection typically rests on particular person preferences and the therapist’s evaluation.

In the course of the course of, sufferers would possibly expertise a flurry of recollections, feelings, or sensations. They’re inspired to passively observe these, akin to watching landscapes from a shifting practice, with out clinging to or overly analyzing them.

Efficacy and Period of EMDR

EMDR’s efficacy, notably in trauma decision, is well-documented. Many discover it expedited in comparison with different therapeutic strategies. The timeline, nevertheless, is inherently subjective, given the distinctive experiences and resilience of every particular person. Circumstances with extra complexity can take longer to work via. But, the consensus in each analysis and private expertise factors in direction of EMDR being a sooner strategy to trauma decision.

  • Analysis has proven that EMDR remedy is very efficient within the remedy of trauma, with 100% of single-trauma survivors and 77% of multiple-trauma survivors not assembly diagnostic standards for PTSD after simply six 50-minute EMDR periods.
  • EMDR is not solely clinically efficient however probably the most cost-effective within the remedy of adults with PTSD.
  • EMDR is discovered to be a lot more practical to assist adults and kids reduce (or lose) PTSD completely after 6 months in comparison with different drugs.

Diana Schaefer – Consumer Instance of How EMDR works:

“I assisted a lady who skilled a traumatic automobile accident throughout daylight when a truck veered into her lane, inflicting her to crash right into a guardrail at 65 mph. The accident’s vivid recollections, together with the impression sound and the ambulance trip, haunted her, resulting in nightmares and excessive anxiousness round driving. This considerably disrupted her every day life. In our periods, apart from understanding her trauma historical past, she was outfitted with coping instruments for distressing recollections. Utilizing EMDR, we centered on the accident’s reminiscence over three months, assessing her misery degree every week. By the top of our periods, her misery degree dropped to zero. Whereas the accident’s reminiscence remained, its emotional depth had diminished fully.”

How EMDR works within the mind

  1. Bilateral Stimulation and Mind Hemispheres: One of many essential options of EMDR is bilateral stimulation, typically achieved via guided eye actions. Some researchers imagine that this fast back-and-forth eye motion would possibly assist in the combination and communication of the proper and left hemispheres of the mind. The appropriate hemisphere is extra related to emotional processing, and the left with cognitive capabilities and language. EMDR might assist hyperlink emotional and cognitive features of the traumatic reminiscence.
  2. Working Reminiscence and Cognitive Load: One other idea means that recalling a traumatic occasion whereas concurrently participating within the distraction of bilateral eye actions imposes a sure cognitive load on working reminiscence. This would possibly trigger the traumatic reminiscence to change into much less vivid and emotional when recalled sooner or later.
  3. Accelerating the Adaptive Info Processing System: EMDR practitioners imagine in an innate human means to maneuver in direction of psychological well being. Traumatic recollections can block or skew this adaptive info processing. EMDR would possibly work by unblocking the system, permitting the traumatic reminiscence to be built-in and saved adaptively within the mind.
  4. Activation of the Default Mode Community: Some neuroimaging research have proven that EMDR prompts the default mode community (DMN) within the mind, a community related to self-referential processing and autobiographical reminiscence. Activation of the DMN would possibly assist in integrating and reprocessing the traumatic reminiscence.
  5. Mimicking REM Sleep: The attention actions in EMDR are thought by some to be much like the fast eye actions noticed in REM (Speedy Eye Motion) sleep. REM sleep is believed to play a job in reminiscence consolidation. EMDR would possibly simulate this course of, permitting for traumatic recollections to be reprocessed and built-in in a way much like how our brains course of info throughout sleep.
  6. Neurobiological Modifications: Some research have indicated that EMDR can result in adjustments within the amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex—mind areas concerned in worry response and reminiscence. Submit-treatment, these areas would possibly present altered activation patterns, indicating that the traumatic reminiscence has been reprocessed.

Who’s it greatest for?

In my coaching once I skilled EMDR, I discovered that it helped my ideas and the connections of these ideas occur a lot sooner. It additionally stunned me how properly it really works to enhance processing of recollections and experiences. EMDR works in treating anxiousness, despair, trauma, and PTSD.  For those who endure from any of those, EMDR remedy could be a useful for you. EMDR remedy is one thing that we provide, so don’t hesitate to contact us to make a counseling appointment.

Bonus: How EMDR Heals Trauma

Picture by Norman Toth on Unsplash



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