Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
A structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories.
Introduction to EMDR
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy (Shapiro, 2001) was initially developed in 1987 for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing model (Shapiro 2007). EMDR is an individual therapy typically delivered one to two times per week. Sessions can be conducted on consecutive days.
The Adaptive Information Processing model considers symptoms of PTSD and other disorders to result from past disturbing experiences that continue to cause distress because the memory was not adequately processed. These unprocessed memories are understood to contain the emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and physical sensations that occurred at the time of the event. When the memories are triggered, these stored disturbing elements are experienced and cause the symptoms of PTSD and/or other disorders.
EMDR incorporates the use of eye movements and other forms of rhythmic left-right (bilateral) stimulation (e.g., tones or taps). While clients briefly focus on the trauma memory and simultaneously experience bilateral stimulation (BLS), the vividness and emotion of the memory are reduced.
CBT For PTSD
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the relationship among thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and notes how changes in any one domain can improve functioning in the other domains. For example, altering a person’s unhelpful thinking can lead to healthier behaviors and improved emotion regulation. CBT targets current problems and symptoms and is available in either individual or group format. This treatment is strongly recommended for the treatment of PTSD.
How CBT Can Help with PTSD
Several theories specific to trauma explain how CBT can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of PTSD.
- Instill hope that symptoms can be improved through treatment
- Teach a practice skill for managing anxiety immediately in a person’s day-to-day life
- Educate about trauma and PTSD to normalize reactions, reduce feelings of being alone, and increase motivation for treatment
- Teach cognitive restructuring as a skill to cope with and reduce negative feelings
- Help clients use cognitive restructuring to challenge and change trauma-related thoughts and beliefs responsible for PTSD symptoms
SCHEMA: Negative Core Beliefs
Negative view of the self (e.g., I’m unlovable, ineffective)
Negative view of the future (e.g., nothing will work out)
Negative view of the world (e.g., world is hostile)
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 12 of the body’s meridian points. Tapping on these meridian points – while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion – will access your body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state.
You may be wondering about these meridians. Put simply, energy circulates through your body along a specific network of channels. You can tap into this energy at any point along the system. Kind of like Acupuncture without the needles.
Post Traumatic Growth
- Appreciation of life.
- Relationships with others.
- New possibilities in life.
- Personal strength.
- Spiritual change
How do you develop post traumatic growth?
- Although posttraumatic growth often happens naturally, with or without psychotherapy or other formal intervention, it can be facilitated in five ways: through education, emotional regulation, disclosure, narrative development, and service.
- EMDR, Resourcing and mindfulness are powerful tools in this process.
Group therapy is available for groups of co-ed processing, using Psychodramatic techniques to resolve old patterns and share support with one another.
Call today to schedule with a group session.