What is EMDR therapy used for? EMDR

Desensitization and reprocessing with EMDR or eye movements. It is a psychotherapy methodology that has stood out for presenting effective results in a shorter time than usual. In this article you will learn how we use emdr therapy in London. Search through alternating bilateral movements to activate the cerebral information processing system, allowing a traumatic memory to be accessed, elaborated, resignified and left in the past.

In the case of a traumatic event, past memories keep coming back along with the emotions experienced, as if we are reliving the danger now. In this very simplified way, we can understand trauma as endless pain, in which one lives in a state of constant alert for an imminent danger to one’s life! Thoughts and emotions related to what happened occupy the mind, interfering with the ability to move on with life.

We can say that this is also a survival mechanism as it occurs in an attempt to resolve an issue (seen as) unresolved.

But how did that happen? Why is that past situation marked as alive and current?

It seems that when the emotion aroused by an extreme event is so strong that it suggests a risk to life, the body reacts defensively and “freezes”, as if it could “not feel”, avoid the emotion, and ends up, somehow, hinder that process of returning to balance when the danger is overcome. In this case, the impression of imminent danger persists and keeps the body in a state of alert.

The therapeutic work in these cases would be to reorganize and reprocess this information in order to desensitize the subject and leave it in the past.

EMDR was developed in the 1980s by Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist, and is based on the hypothesis that the body has its own health-seeking mechanisms and finds this possibility with bilateral brain stimulation that would promote a “conversation” between blocked sensations and emotions. . This can also occur in REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep period). The bilateral stimulation used in EMDR triggers a physiological mechanism that activates the information processing system in its associative chains, reaching the memory network that stores dysfunctional information, unblocks the nervous system and helps in the processing of non-conscious material. In this way the trauma can be processed and released, the memory remains, but the disturbance cannot.

In addition to eye movements, alternating visual, tactile or auditory stimuli can be used. The process must be conducted by a qualified professional and during a therapeutic process.

The ocular stimulus happens when the patient follows with his eyes the sequential movement of the therapist’s fingers that move right/left/or the light bar that produces the same effect.

Tactile stimuli can be alternate touches with the patient’s hands or with a small device with two tips that vibrate alternately.

Auditory stimuli are used with headphones.

Each patient identifies with one or another type of stimulus.

Today, there are studies with imaging tests that evaluate alterations, before, during and after the intervention with EMDR, of the activation and blood flow of the brain structures, showing a decrease in activation, which would signal a decrease in hypervigilance reactions and fewer startle reactions on the part of the brain. patient and with more activation of the prefrontal cortex with consequent access to more positive memories and with more capacity for emotional regulation.

EMDR is especially used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, phobias, panic syndrome, installation of positive resources and others.

The American Psychiatric Association recommends EMDR as one of today’s leading methods for treating traumatic situations.

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