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How Effective is EMDR?

The numbers surrounding trauma are significant — 70% of adults in the United States report experiencing trauma at least once during their lives, to say nothing of the tens of millions of children who’ve also been exposed to a life-changing event.

At Southlake Counseling, Kimberly Krueger and our team understand the incredibly powerful impact that trauma can have on our lives. When the trauma goes unresolved, however, it can lead to mental, emotional, and physical problems, which is where we come in. 

Through an innovative technique called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), we’re helping our patients break free from trauma so that they can move forward with their lives.

Here’s a look at how EMDR works and why it’s effective at helping you move past the trauma in your life.

Understanding trauma

Before we dive into EMDR, let’s take a look at the many forms that trauma can take. When it comes to defining trauma or what qualifies as a traumatic event, we feel that it’s not necessarily the event, but your response to that event, person, or circumstance that matters. If you encounter a situation that leaves you feeling helpless, scared, and overwhelmed, that can certainly qualify as a trauma. 

To give you a better idea of the most common traumas, here are a few examples of why people seek our help:

Again, these are just some examples of traumas that can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health, including struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Addressing trauma through EMDR

Whether you develop clinical PTSD as a result of your trauma, or the disturbing experience haunts you in smaller (but still noticeable) ways, our goal is to help you move past the event. 

Traditionally, talk therapy has played a crucial role in helping our patients process their emotions after a traumatic event, and we still believe that this type of therapy is a key piece to the puzzle. Through EMDR, however, we’re able to speed the healing of the psychological trauma by helping your brain “unblock” itself from the event more quickly.

At the heart of EMDR is our use of external sensory stimuli, such as a moving light, vibrating paddles, or tones that are designed to stimulate your brain as you discuss your trauma. By promoting brain function in this way, we help your brain to release itself from the grip of the emotional experience and move toward better mental health.

From there, we explore the emotional hold that the trauma has on you and help you form positive mental and emotional replacements for the negative responses. Ultimately, we want you to be able to recall the event without the fear or anxiety that have been holding you back from happiness.

There are eight phases of EMDR, which we outline here, and the length of the therapy depends upon how deeply you’re affected by the trauma, but most patients undergo 6-12 sessions. 

Is EMDR effective? 

While everyone responds to therapies like EMDR differently, studies have shown that EMDR is very effective. For example, one study reported that 84-90% of those who experienced single-trauma events no longer had PTSD after three EMDR sessions. In another study, 77% of combat vets were able to break free from PTSD after 12 sessions.

If you’re tired of living in the shadow of trauma, please contact one of our offices in Charlotte or Davidson, North Carolina, to see how EMDR can help.

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