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Thread: EMDR Therapy

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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Default EMDR Therapy

    This is online info about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
    It's purpose is to enable to mind to process traumas that have been suppressed. It treats PTSD on all levels from war trauma to car accidents. The process connects the frontal cortex with the deep limbic system and amygdala. In that way the deep fears can be connected to the judgment processing center of the brain and reset with peaceful and positive sensations. It does this by triggering the deep brain through the external cues of REM sleep. This is done by alternating sensations between the hemispheres of the brain through eye movement back and forth, a sound cue alternating between the ears via headphones, or tapping alternately on the knees.

    http://www.emdr.com

    http://www.emdria.org

    http://www.emdrnetwork.org/description.html

    There has been research done on this to demonstrate its process through brain scans and to determine its long-term effectiveness. It is a real "meat-and-potatoes" kind of therapy. It is like the psychological equivalent of physical therapy in that it can be painful and very direct, and yet resets the damage in the system.

    This thread can be set up as a discussion of pros and cons to this therapy if anyone knows enough background on it. It can also be a place to discuss experiences with it to whatever extent people feel comfortable.
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    I've heard a therapist tell about working with this. She said 'nobody knows how it works, but it works' and that it's highly effective within just a few sessions, way better than CBT. However, she still preferred using CBT, because it would keep her clients coming back longer, making sure she'd earn enough cash.
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    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    I've done a bit of this combined with tapping therapy, and it did seem to help for my anxiety.
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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comeback Girl View Post
    I've heard a therapist tell about working with this. She said 'nobody knows how it works, but it works' and that it's highly effective within just a few sessions, way better than CBT. However, she still preferred using CBT, because it would keep her clients coming back longer, making sure she'd earn enough cash.
    It may be that they have done more research on it since you spoke with her. There may also be aspects of it that are not understood. I hope we can explore more of the research in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquarelle View Post
    I've done a bit of this combined with tapping therapy, and it did seem to help for my anxiety.
    That is good to hear. I know quite a few people with anxiety and PTSD issues, so I've started the process partly to be a guinea pig in hopes of it helping them after they see me do it. The problem with traumatized people is that something like this can be a bit scary.

    I've had three sessions, including one long session. I feel like it is the first therapy I've had that really digs in and has the potential to help with what I need. I've done talk therapy and it was useful, sometimes pragmatic in its help for big life decisions and issues. I felt like most talk therapy helped to maintain my needs in the current situation, but there wasn't a long-term effect of correcting the problems in my mind. I'm hopeful for this process.

    I use the alternate knee tapping by the therapist because I tend to intellectualize sight and sound. Feel is more visceral for me. I'm keeping a scrapbook of sorts with the images that come to my mind during the process. After the session, I look up images on google and print them off. I find this helps me see the progression of symbols/memories. I find this therapy to be an excellent match for deep traumas that are not remembered clearly. The danger of trying to identify the memories through hypnosis is that the imagination can twist these. This process does not claim to extract repressed memories, but focuses on the "felt-sense" that the past trauma caused. The images that come to my mind are like a dream in which some are clearly imaginary, some are more concrete like a memory, and most are somewhere inbetween. It is fascinating to me to be in this conscious dream state and able to report each image as it passes through my mind. I'm also a little intimidated by it because it has rather powerful effects on my mind. That is part of my motivation to start this thread. It's a way to learn more and share it with other people who have/will benefit from it.
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    morose bourgeoisie
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    I've had EMDR therapy. I've also had 'energy' therapy (which included tapping on meridians). I found both to be very beneficial. I can't tell you how they work, but they do for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    It may be that they have done more research on it since you spoke with her. There may also be aspects of it that are not understood. I hope we can explore more of the research in this thread.
    It was a year ago. But that therapist was a rather uneducated one. She graduated back when psychologists didn't need as much degrees to work independently as they do now and she kept working at the same level, never getting any more education. If I had the same degrees as she does, nobody would even consider hiring me.
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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I had EMDR about 9 years ago. It was for a very specific purpose (my first birth experience was traumatic, so when I was expecting my second child I feared giving birth again). It worked well for me- I was able to go into my second child's birth with no fear and had a healing, positive experience that time.

    I was very skeptical before undergoing the therapy. It sounded really pseudoscientific to me. But I was desperate and willing to try it since I figured it couldn't harm me. I was already reliving those traumatic experiences involuntarily every time I thought about birth again, so being asked to relive them under guidance was no more anxiety-provoking than what I was already going through. It helped that I trust my therapist implicitly and was able to reach a deeply relaxed state with her guidance.

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    EMDR is not more effective than other similar kinds of therapy such as exposure therapy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_mov..._effectiveness
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposur...tress_Disorder

    I recommend against EMDR. Go with proven treatments that don't contain unnecessary pseudoscientific cruft.

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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    EMDR definitely produces an altered state that has been researched. The degree of this altered state is a bit intense - enough so that I can feel a bit intimidated. I've done four sessions so far and they produce rather striking images. Perhaps it works better for some minds than others?
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    EMDR definitely produces an altered state that has been researched. The degree of this altered state is a bit intense - enough so that I can feel a bit intimidated. I've done four sessions so far and they produce rather striking images. Perhaps it works better for some minds than others?
    The Wikipedia sections I linked to contain a plethora of citations to actual published literature. That literature suggests that EMDR only works to the extent that it mimics exposure therapy. There is no evidence that any of the rest of the claims are true.

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