Eye Movements and Trauma Therapy

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P.T.S.D. Hurts: Image Credit: Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Experiential EMDR Training

Dr. Shapiro’s training program includes the opportunity for therapists to experience treatment with Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, as most people have some old memory that still causes disproportionate distress when recalled. This experiential component provides therapists with first-hand knowledge that is an important aspect of the popularity of the technique. Professional therapists have received extended training and supervision to become consultants and trainers, increasing the availability of this treatment globally.

From Disbelief to In-depth Research

Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Therapists of all kinds were sceptical when news of EMDR started surfacing. Then news of remarkable success started making the rounds in forums and at conferences, and with managed health care restricting coverage for therapy, practitioners were searching for more efficient treatment techniques. Dr. Shapiro’s discovery was just what we were looking for.

While EMDR treatment appears simple, it is part of a complex cognitive process that accelerates information processing, allowing the old, distressing memory to be filed away in existing memory networks. When this reprocessing occurs, more rational thinking emerges and the fear and anxiety associated with the old experience settles down. The memory still exists, but with the emotional and cognitive awareness that it is over.

EMDR is a powerful technique for therapy. Image by benipop

EMDR for Trauma Victims

Today, EMDR is a very well-researched technique that is recommended for victims of all forms of trauma, including terror and torture. Professionals with master’s or doctoral level training are accepted into EMDR training.  It is a powerful method that should not be engaged in playfully or experimentally by individuals; sudden emergence of previously dissociated material could occur, resulting in emotional distress. Anyone with symptoms of excessive anxiety, panic, depression, or chronic nightmares should consult with a well trained mental health practitioner.

Sources

Francine Shapiro, PhD. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures. (2001). Guilford Press, NY. 2nd Edition. Accessed January 25, 2012.

EMDR Institute website. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Accessed January 25, 2012.

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