6 Benefits of EMDR Therapy for PTSD
Our brains have an intensely strong response to trauma. Going through a traumatic event can actually change the way that your brain functions. If you feel like a different person before and after a trauma, you’re not alone. To recover from your trauma and reclaim control over your life, you have to release the hold that the memories have over you.
EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is a highly effective form of treatment for PTSD because it allows your brain to process and store traumatic memories in a new way. During the treatment, your therapist will instruct you to recall the traumatic event while guiding you through specific side-to-side eye movements. They might also use other stimuli, such as sounds on either side of you or tapping on both of your arms. This experience engages both sides of your brain and lets your mind store the memory without getting “stuck” on it.
EMDR therapy is quite different from other forms of counseling, but many clients swear by its results.
The Following Are Six Key Benefits of EMDR Therapy for PTSD
1. Reprocesses Trauma
Trauma has a dramatic impact on the structure and function of your brain. We store traumatic memories differently than we store regular memories, which is why they can continue to hold so much power over our emotions and behavior. If you’ve been through trauma, your brain may not realize that the danger is over. It can become stuck on the traumatic event, which is why you might feel like you shut down when you encounter triggers.
EMDR therapy provides an opportunity for your brain to reprocess your trauma in a new way. The eye movements and other new stimuli allow you to access your memories in a different manner, so your brain can finally come to a peaceful resolution instead of shutting down. Although you can’t remove your past trauma from your life, EMDR therapy helps you “repair” your brain so that the memories don’t have such a hold over you.
2. Decreases Anxious Thoughts
Many people with PTSD struggle with anxious thoughts. After your trauma, you might always feel nervous or on-edge. You never know when the danger is going to return or when you may experience a flashback or a panic attack. Navigating your daily life with constant anxiety is extremely difficult, but EMDR therapy can help.
During your EMDR therapy session, your therapist will ask you to identify a negative or unhelpful belief about yourself that has resulted from your trauma. Then, you’ll work together to identify a positive belief to replace the negative thought. As you move through the session, your therapist will encourage you to remember the positive belief instead. This can help to reduce your anxious thoughts about yourself, your life, or your experiences.
3. Reduces Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be incredibly painful and even debilitating for people with PTSD. When you recall your trauma or face a triggering situation, you might feel like your mind and body spiral out of control. The following are some of the most common symptoms of a panic attack:
- • Rapid heart rate
- • Shaking and trembling
- • Sweating
- • Shortness of breath
- • Nausea
- • Chest pain
- • Feeling disconnected
- • Fear of losing control or dying
People with past trauma may experience a panic attack in response to a person, place, or situation that reminds them of their traumatic memories. The fear of having a panic attack can prevent you from fully engaging in your life. EMDR therapy reduces the power that your trauma holds over you, which allows you to face formerly triggering situations without experiencing a panic attack.
4. Improves Self-awareness
EMDR therapy doesn’t just address your trauma responses. It also helps you better understand yourself and improve your perspective on yourself. After going through trauma, you might feel like the experience has made you a lesser or weaker person. Many people blame themselves for their trauma or label themselves as broken or damaged. Your trauma was not your fault, though, and you have to develop a better relationship with yourself in order to achieve true healing.
During EMDR therapy, your therapist will encourage you to repeat a positive belief about yourself. This positive self-talk replaces the negative beliefs you’ve been telling yourself. Over time, you’ll gain a stronger sense of self-awareness about your progress and the value you offer the world. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by your trauma, you can look at yourself and your life more clearly.
5. Achieves Results Quickly
For many, one of the greatest benefits of EMDR therapy is how quickly you can achieve results. Everyone works on their own timeline, so your therapist shouldn’t promise that you’ll be fully recovered in a specific number of sessions. However, clients tend to see results from EMDR therapy much faster than they do with other forms of counseling.
A full course of EMDR therapy usually involves about eight to 12 sessions. Clients often report feeling results within just a few weeks. This is especially valuable for those who feel like their entire life is controlled by their trauma. When you’re struggling to such an extent, you don’t want to wait months to see results from your therapy.
6. Less Emphasis on Talking
Before your EMDR session, you and your therapist will discuss your goals for the therapy. Your counselor may ask you some questions about your trauma and how it has impacted you so that they can effectively guide you through the session. After the EMDR session, you and your therapist will discuss your experiences. However, EMDR therapy involves much less talking than other forms of counseling.
You don’t have to explain your trauma to your therapist in great detail. Most of the work happens internally while your therapist provides verbal directions. If you struggle to talk about your experiences or emotions, EMDR therapy may be your answer.
EMDR Therapy in Los Angeles
EMDR therapy is a powerful form of treatment for PTSD. If you’re ready to overcome your trauma, Menachem Psychotherapy Group is here to help. We offer EMDR therapy and other forms of counseling for trauma recovery. Contact us today to speak with an EMDR therapist in Los Angeles.