People with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) experience a great deal of suffering. They have flashbacks, are hyper vigilant, and have interrupted sleep, often from nightmares of them reliving the traumatic experience. PTSD is often associated with veteran of war and the number of vets suffering from this disorder continues to grow. Others often suffer from a devastating loss, abuse and unresolved childhood trauma.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing and has shown to be an effective treatment and part of the practicing guidelines for PTSD by the American Psychiatric Organization, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Defense.
This process involves a license therapist and combines traditional talk therapy along with exercises that involve variations of bilateral eye movement, tapping and using headphones with bilateral auditory sounds. While at first, it may sound a bit odd, there has been some sound scientific research supporting this EMDR and positive results, especially among war veteran, to back it up.
Because the brain is capable of processing so much information at all times, it has a way of filtering out what isn’t important or prioritizing what we consider relevant. A traumatic experience can get caught in a sort of “loop effect”. This causes the dramatic event to dominate the brain’s memory and along with that comes an unconscious negative belief about ourselves. This underlying negative self-belief of loss of control, blame and helplessness becomes a thinking error of how we feel about ourselves.
Through therapy these exercises are stimulating reactions from both the left and right side (hemisphere) of the brain. As the therapist walks the patient through dealing with the emotional trauma, combined with positive feedback that the patient already accepts to be true about themselves, the disturbing thoughts become more vague and distant.
You might think of it as reorganizing the brain so that these traumatic negative thoughts are properly compartmentalized and don’t dominate or overwhelm the brains memory bank. In addition to PTSD, EMDR has shown success in patients dealing with these disorders as well:
- Sexual and/or physical abuse
- Performance anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Complicated grief
If you or someone you know is experiencing Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder, this approach may bring some hope. To learn more call Rebecca Ginder today at (561) 450-5255. You may also be interested in the CBS New Report on EMDR Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.