The car accident happened so long ago, but it feels as if it occurred just yesterday.
You can still hear the screeching of the tires on the pavement and the crunching of the metal. When you go to a gas station, just the smell of the fuel vapors in the air brings you back to that terrible day.
It’s often hard for you to concentrate and focus. You’ve even caught yourself getting angry and snapping back at others.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because these are symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And these trauma symptoms can be crippling.
However, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can help with closing these emotional wounds.
Consider how EMDR for PTSD can work for you.
What Is EMDR and How Does It Work?
EMDR therapy is a process by which people who have traumatic memories can begin to process what happened and to resolve the trauma. There are several components of an EMDR treatment program.
The most important ones are:
- Client preparation and distress training
- Target memories identified and processed
- Evaluating the success of treatment
It should be noted that is not a “once-and-done” kind of program. Rather, it is a process that takes several weeks to complete. However, EMDR has proved to be successful in helping people who are struggling with PTSD to resolve their trauma symptoms.
One component of EMDR for PTSD that is important is what’s called resourcing. This occurs early on in the client preparation and distress training phase of the treatment. It refers to learning skills that help you to find immediate relief if you are experiencing stress related to PTSD.
This stress manifests itself in the many associated symptoms associated, such as:
- A feeling that you are in danger
- Recurring memories that are upsetting
- Feeling hopeless
- Being startled
- Outbursts of anger
The skills that you learn in therapy can be applied outside of the therapist’s office in your daily life. After, all, most instances in which your PTSD symptoms will arise are not going to be when you are in session.
By having an arsenal of coping skills in place, it is much easier to cope when an episode of post-traumatic stress disorder occurs.
2. Memory Processing
Another important aspect of EMDR for PTSD is memory processing. It is when you and your therapist address and process your memories associated with your past trauma.
This is done using eye movement. It can be as simple as your therapist holding up a finger and you tracking that finger with your eyes back-and-forth. Using this technique while bringing up the traumatic memories allows your brain to process the trauma.
The end result is that your brain is “healed” from past trauma. This doesn’t mean that it goes away. Rather, you now have the ability to recall the memory without it causing excessive distress.
3. Determining Effectiveness
A third component that is important in EMDR for PTSD treatment is the assessment phase. This is when you and your therapist determine whether or not the treatment was effective in resolving the trauma.
This may include you keeping a record of your experiences outside of the office. If there is still work to be done, then additional EMDR sessions may be required. However, it is amazing how often and quickly trauma symptom reduction can occur by means of this treatment method.
EMDR for PTSD holds the potential of resolving your distress and finding relief from trauma symptoms. If you are considering eye movement desensitization and reprocessing treatment consider seeing a therapist who specializes in EMDR trauma therapy such as myself.
Please, feel free to contact me. Together, we can work to resolve your past trauma and find the closure you need.