EMDR Therapy
In South Florida

Unfortunately, experiencing a traumatic event is something far too many people can relate to. Traumatic events can be very difficult to move past. Losing a loved one, betrayal, and physical traumas can leave a lasting impact on a person. Many people may even find themselves experiencing negative emotions when reflecting on their traumatic experiences.

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What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is short for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. EMDR involves a person remembering a traumatic experience while following side-to-side visual cues given by a therapist.

It is believed that these side-to-side eye movements help decrease the emotional intensity of the traumatic memory. As a result, the experience loses its power over the individual. In other words,  a person won’t have such a knee-jerk reaction to the traumatic memories. They can easily they can talk about these experiences in order to heal from them.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR therapy targets the way that traumatic memories are stored in the brain. It is believed that past traumatic experiences can keep causing stress and anxiety because they were not processed.  When these memories are triggered after the traumatic event, they can still have all the same emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations as the initial traumatic experience.

While there is evidence that EMDR therapy works, the science is not quite clear on how it works.  Some studies question if the side to side eye movements are necessary for the procedure to work.  They suggest that the real benefit comes from recalling and working through the traumatic memories with a skilled therapist.

However, new research is emerging. Research on the visual system may show that the lateral movement of the eyes is required for EMDR effectiveness. The movement mimics optic flow. This movement calms down the fight-or-flight response. Thus, greatly lowering the feeling of stress that a traumatic memory can hold.

EMDR Therapy in West Palm Beach, FL

Benefits of EMDR Therapy in South Florida

Trauma can negatively impact a person. Oftentimes, people who have experienced a traumatic event find themselves reliving the event when exposed to triggers. This can come in the form of flashbacks, or strong emotional reactions to certain triggers. Trauma can also affect the person in the form of PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that occurs in response to traumatic experiences. About one-half of American adults will experience a traumatic event in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). PTSD can cause recurring feelings of anxiety and negative emotions.

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EMDR therapy can be effective in helping to calm symptoms of PTSD and trauma. The therapy has been shown to be beneficial and has long-lasting results for people who have experienced traumatic events.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

EMDR therapy may work best when coupled with therapy. This will really allow a person to no longer feel the negative intense emotions associated with past trauma. As a result, with the help of a therapist, these individuals can work through the painful event without feeling the pain.

Who Can Benefit From EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy can be extremely beneficial for anyone who has gone through traumatic events. Individuals such as veterans and people who have experienced natural disasters physical abuse accidents sexual assault assault, or natural disasters can all benefit from EMDR therapy.

The scope of benefits of EMDR therapy in Florida reaches beyond just PTSD. It is also used to treat conditions like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Chronic pain and phantom pain
  • Substance use disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Phobias
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Eating disorders

The 8 Phases of EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy has eight different stages. Usually, a therapist will explain each stage and help the client successfully transition through them.

Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning

The first stage is history and treatment planning. During this phase, a therapist will assess how ready a client is for treatment. Together a client and therapist will work to identify traumatic areas from the past four EMDR processing. Traumatic events from the present that cause emotional distress can also benefit from EMDR therapy.

EMDR Therapy Phases
EMDR Therapy Phases

Phase 2: Preparation

During the preparation phase, a therapist works on building a client’s trust. Due to the traumatic nature of an intense emotional experience, an individual needs to be able to trust their therapist fully.

The client will need to feel safe and cared for during the treatment experience. During this phase, a therapist will explain the EMDR process and full detail. Clients also receive tools to help them stay emotionally stable during the session.

Phase 3–6: Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, and Body Scan

During these phases is when the actual work begins. Clients will be asked to:

  • Recall a visual related to the memory
  • Identify a negative belief about themselves
  • Acknowledge related emotions and physical (body) sensations
  • Identify a positive belief about themselves
  • Rate both the positive and negative associations related to the event

The therapist will then begin using a technique called bilateral stimulation. This involves directed eye movement, taps, or tones.

EMDR Therapy Phases
EMDR Therapy Phases

Phase 7: Closure

During phase seven, the client will put what they have learned during the EMDR therapy into use. A therapist may ask a client to keep a log for a week to track any issues or negative emotions that may come up. The log serves as a reminder of the techniques learned during phase two of treatment.

Phase 8: Reevaluation

The reevaluation phase is not always the last phase in EMDR treatment. If a person has had several traumatic experiences, then at this stage they will work with their therapist to identify a new starting point.

Next, they will begin the process again with this new starting point. However, if a person has addressed all the targets they identified in the first phase, they will enter into a maintenance phase. In the maintenance phase, they will be able to use the skills they learned.

EMDR Therapy Phases

EMDR Therapy in South Florida

If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD, know that there is hope. EMDR therapy is a safe and effective treatment for overcoming trauma and regaining control over your life. The caring and compassionate staff at our state-of-the-art luxurious mental health treatment facility is ready to help you get back to living life on your terms.

Contact Ambrosia Behavioral Health today to find out more about our treatment options for EMDR and other mental health conditions. Our addiction and mental health services in West Palm Beach, Singer Island, and Port St. Lucie, Florida can assist you.

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