Trauma Therapy: EMDR and PTSD

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a multi-phasic psychotherapeutic approach often used for traumatic memories, particularly in PTSD, but also in anxiety. EMDR is believed to help in the processing of upsetting memories, thoughts, and feelings related to a trauma. By processing these experiences, PTSD symptoms are thought to decrease. EMDR is often combined with CBT approaches.

In EMDR, the patient pays attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound while thinking about the upsetting memory long enough for it to become less distressing. The back-and-forth movement and sound are seen as an integral part of the effectiveness of EMDR. However, some dispute that they are needed and argue that EMDR is just a form of exposure therapy.

For more information, you may be interested in one of Jonathan Haverkampf’s books or articles available through this website.

You may also be interested in one of the following links:

American Psychological Association

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

A structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories.

Veterans Health Administration

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD

EMDR for PTSD – Veterans Health Administration


Considering EMDR Therapy? What to Expect

“According to the theory behind the approach, traumatic and painful memories can cause post-traumatic stress when you don’t process them completely. Then, when sights, sounds, words, or smells trigger those unprocessed memories, you re-experience them. … EMDR aims to reduce symptoms of trauma by changing how your memories are stored in your brain. In a nutshell, an EMDR therapist does this by leading you through a series of bilateral (side-to-side) eye movements as you recall traumatic or triggering experiences in small segments, until those memories no longer cause distress.”

National Library of Medicine

EMDR beyond PTSD: A Systematic Literature Review

“EMDR therapy could be a useful psychotherapy to treat trauma-associated symptoms in patients with comorbid psychiatric disorders. Preliminary evidence also suggests that EMDR therapy might be useful to improve psychotic or affective symptoms and could be an add-on treatment in chronic pain conditions.”

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