EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment that was designed to help alleviate distress from painful life events (Shapiro, 2001). Studies have shown that the equivalent of three 90-minute sessions produces 85-100% remission of PTSD with single trauma (e.g. Wilson, Tinker, 1995, 1997). Essentially, a patient takes a painful memory and processes it with eye movements. The theory posits that when memories aren't processed, they're still active and have not been adaptively resolved. For example, one takes an event that is stuck or frozen, like a middle school event and, through EMDR, is able to create a new template for life. Therefore, after processing distressing and painful memories, we see things more rationally.
This modality of therapy incorporates images, body sensations and negative beliefs. While working with the therapist, the patient has one foot in the past and one foot in the present. For instance, a patient might link a memory to the negative belief or cognition of "I cannot trust anyone." Through the process of EMDR, the patient is able to create a new template for self of 'I can choose whom to trust."
The following are populations that have been researched and demonstrated successful treatment outcomes through EMDR Therapy:
Phobias (de Jongh, et al, 2002)
Panic Disorder (Fernandez & Faretta, 2007)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Gauvreau & Bouchard, 2008)
Depression (Hoffman, 2015)
Attachment Disorder (Zaccagnino & Cussino, 2013)
Conduct Problems and Self-Esteem (Soberman et al, 2002)
Grief and Mourning (Sprang, 2001; Solomon & Rando, 2007)
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Brown, et al, 1997)
Sexual Dysfunction (Wernik, 1993)
Pedophilia (Ricci et al, 2006)
Psychotic Disorders (Van den Berg et al, 2015)
Chronic Pain (Grant & Threlfo, 2002)
Migraine Headaches (Marcus, 2008)
Phantom Limb Pain (De Roos et al, 2010; Schneider et al, 2008)
Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (van Rood & de Roos, 2009)
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