Often, people who have been impacted by a traumatic event find that moving past it proves to be difficult. They aren’t sure where to turn for help that specifically addresses their needs. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, known as EMDR, is an effective treatment that allows you to safely overcome trauma and get back to living your life. Neuroscience Institute uses EMDR therapy in Florida to treat different types of trauma and other mental health conditions, providing you with a way to move past the trauma and into healing. 

What Is EMDR?

EMDR is a type of psychotherapy designed to help people heal from trauma and other distressing life experiences. It is a type of guided exposure therapy that allows patients to face trauma in a safe environment while learning how to redirect emotional responses to traumatic events. The process reframes the chronic heightened emotional responses people have when thinking about traumatic events they’ve experienced. 

EMDR was developed in 1987 for the treatment of PTSD. The process focuses on a person’s memories and affects changes in how they are stored in the brain. This therapy can be used independently or in conjunction with traditional talk therapy or holistic therapy. EMDR is typically provided one or two times per week over six to twelve sessions. Some people may need fewer sessions, depending on how quickly they respond to treatment. Sessions may also take place on consecutive days. 

The process of EMDR therapy in Florida involves asking a client to think about the trauma that has impacted their lives. While they do so, the trained clinician uses a series of lateral eye movements and tapping or other sounds. This process helps reframe how the person experiences these memories, allowing them to reduce or eliminate symptoms such as anxiety or flashbacks. 

Benefits of EMDR Therapy in Florida 

People who struggle with the effects of trauma often find that it negatively impacts many areas of their lives. The stress of reliving traumatic memories, including flashbacks, can be debilitating. While studies about the benefits of EMDR therapy are ongoing, current evidence shows that EMDR produces measurable reductions in the symptoms of PTSD and other trauma-related conditions. 

EMDR provides effective relief on a short-term basis for some, but many people report long-lasting results, including full remission from side effects of trauma. Compared to prolonged exposure therapy, EMDR therapy is more efficacious, and participants are less likely to drop out of treatment. 

Who May Need EMDR Therapy

EMDR is most commonly used to treat people dealing with trauma. This group includes veterans who were involved in or witnessed traumatic events as part of their military service. The Department of Veterans Affairs recommends EMDR as a safe and effective form of treatment for veterans suffering from PTSD. Veterans who engaged in EMDR experienced a reduction in hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, and depression. Studies have shown 77% of participants with PTSD or psychotic disorders benefited from the use of EMDR. 

People who have experienced other types of trauma, such as natural disasters, sexual abuse or assault, physical abuse, childhood neglect, accidents, or long-term illnesses also benefit from EMDR. Those who work as first responders, such as firefighters, police, and paramedics, often witness traumatic events and accidents. EMDR can offer the help they need to move past the lingering effects of these types of trauma. 

The scope of benefits of EMDR therapy in Florida reaches beyond just PTSD. It is also used to treat conditions like: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Chronic pain and phantom pain
  • Substance use disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Phobias
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Eating disorders

How EMDR Therapy Works 

EMDR therapy in Florida is a progressive therapy that occurs in eight succinct stages. The therapist will explain each stage and help the client transition through them. 

Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning 

During this phase of treatment, your therapist will assess your readiness for treatment. Together, you will work to identify target areas from your past for EMDR processing. You may also identify areas in your present life that cause emotional distress. 

Phase 2: Preparation

The preparation phase is the trust-building phase. Because trauma is an intense emotional experience, you need to be able to fully trust not just your therapist, but also that you will be safe and cared for during treatment. Your therapist will explain the process to you in detail, and give you the tools to help you maintain equilibrium during and after your sessions.

Phase 3–6: Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, and Body Scan

These phases are where the work truly begins. During these phases, you will be asked to:

  • Recall a visual related to the memory
  • Identify a negative belief about yourself
  • Acknowledge related emotions and physical (body) sensations
  • Identify a positive belief about yourself
  • Rate both the positive and negative associations related to the event

Your therapist will then begin using a technique called bilateral stimulation. This involves directed eye movement, taps, or tones. 

Phase 7: Closure

During this phase, you put the tools you have learned during EMDR therapy into practice. Your therapist may ask you to keep a log for a week, in order to track any issues that may crop up. The log also serves as a reminder of the calming techniques you learned during phase two of treatment.

Phase 8: Reevaluation

The reevaluation phase is not necessarily the last phase of treatment. If you have had several traumatic events or have been living with PTSD for quite some time, together with your therapist, you will work to identify a new starting point. Then you will begin the process again with a new target. However, if you have addressed all targets identified during phase one, you will enter into a maintenance phase. During this phase, you will be able to fully use your learned skills.

These eight phases culminate in a proven set of steps to follow in order to maximize the effects of EMDR. If at any time during the process you are unsure about a step, the therapist will be happy to help explain it and answer questions.

EMDR Therapy in Palm Beach, Florida

If you are struggling with PTSD, know that there is hope. EMDR therapy is a safe and effective treatment for overcoming trauma and regaining control over your life. The caring and compassionate staff at our state-of-the-art luxurious mental health treatment facility is ready to help you get back to living life on your terms. Contact Neuroscience Institute today to find out more about our treatment options for EMDR and other mental health conditions.