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What is EMDR Used to Treat?


The American Psychological Association defines trauma as ‘an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.’ It can impact an individual in a wide variety of ways, ultimately denying them the opportunity to live a happy, healthy, and meaningful life. 

According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, 60% of men and 50% of women will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. While not everyone will experience PTSD, about 6 in every 100 adults will – roughly 12 million adults are diagnosed with PTSD every year.

In addition to PTSD, traumatic experiences can lead to a number of other mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, OCD, chronic pain, addictions, and much more. While these symptoms and disorders can be life-altering, numerous effective treatments are available. 


What is EMDR?

EMDR therapy, also known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, is a therapy technique used to treat a number of mental health disorders. The goal is to help the brain process disturbing memories that weren’t adequately processed at the time of the event. 

Instead of trying to alter the emotions surrounding a traumatic event, EMDR changes the way memories are stored in the brain. With the use of eye movements and rhythmic bilateral stimulation, the vividness and emotions attached to the memory are gradually decreased. 

EMDR was first developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, and clinical trials began two years later. With dozens of clinical trials completed to date, EMDR has been proven effective for the treatment of mental health disorders and is recommended by the APA, WHO, and much more. 


What Does EMDR Therapy Entail?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is built behind the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model – like EMDR, it was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. The model theorizes that normal memories and traumatic memories are stored differently in the brain. 

While the brain stores, networks, connects, and communicates normal memories smoothly, those connections don’t happen with traumatic memories. Instead, there’s a strong disconnect between the experience and the memory, and the brain doesn’t perceive that the danger is over. 

EMDR therapy allows the brain to resume its natural healing process in eight different phases: 

  1. Planning – the patient and therapist identify targets for treatment. 
  2. Preparation – the therapist explains the treatment and introduces the patients to the procedure. 
  3. Assessment – the therapist measures the patient based on Validity of Cognition (VOC) and Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD).
  4. Desensitization – the patient focuses on the memory, while the therapist experiments with different eye movements and other BLS. 
  5. Installation – the therapist works with the patient to strengthen the preferred positive cognition.
  6. Body Scan – the patient observes their physical responses to the memory or traumatic experience.
  7. Closure – the patient and therapist summarize the day’s treatment and put together a plan of attack for next time. 
  8. Re-Evaluation – the therapist re-evaluates the patient and how treatment is going. 

During EMDR treatment, the patient is placed in a therapeutic environment. The therapist asks the patient a series of questions about the memory or experience. At the same time, the patient is asked to watch the therapist’s hand as it moves across the visual field, stimulating REM. 


What is EMDR Used to Treat?

So, what is EMDR therapy used to treat? It was originally developed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is currently an effective technique in doing so. As we learn more about the treatment, we see that it can help treat a number of other mental health disorders. 

For example, it can help treat anxiety disorders (phobias, panic disorders, etc.), depression disorders, dissociative disorders, eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating), gender dysphoria, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), personality disorders, and trauma disorders. 

While EMDR is widely viewed as an effective technique for treating these disorders, it’s often used in conjunction with other traditional treatments – such as medication, lifestyle changes, and other forms of therapy. Together, patients can find the relief they’ve been longing for. 


How to Find EMDR Therapy in Indiana

Are you interested in learning more about eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy? Do you believe you’re a good candidate for EMDR? Are you trying to find EMDR therapy in the Indiana area? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we’re here to help!

At SEE Purpose Treatment, we understand that recovery takes a village, and we’re excited to provide that village to those in need. Our Indiana rehab center provides comprehensive treatment to help anyone suffering from addiction issues. With the help of EMDR and other mindfulness techniques, we can help you heal from those traumatic experiences, including substance use and addiction.

If you’d like to learn more about what is EMDR used to treat and how it can help you live a happier, healthier, and more rewarding life, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We understand how certain traumatic events can alter an individual’s life and take pride in offering a solution.

Contact SEE Purpose today to learn more about our Indiana addiction treatment programs.

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