Is EMDR Therapy The Right Choice For You?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an option for treating trauma. The idea behind EMDR therapy is to use bilateral stimulation in guided sessions to help patients process their traumas and associated emotional issues. Are you a good candidate for this therapeutic approach? Many people can benefit from EMDR, but folks in these four groups tend to seek this kind of therapy more often.

Difficulty with Daily Functioning

Patients who've experienced traumas can have difficulty with daily functionality. Suppose someone was driving a car that was involved in a semi accident. They may have experienced a combination of emotional and physical traumas that reinforced each other. As they healed physically, they found that they couldn't bring themselves to get into a car and drive again even though they were able to do so. The accident victim might benefit from EMDR as a way to break through the emotional and mental blocks associated with driving and their traumatic memories of the incident.

Intrusive Memories

Some people have a tough time keeping intrusive memories and feelings out of their normal experiences. Combat veterans, for example, often struggle to differentiate daily noises and shocks from what they felt during their service time. Operating at a heightened level of awareness in a survival situation may have rewired the person's brain to focus on sudden movements, unexpected noises, unusual objects, and fast responses. These feelings of heightened awareness can also trigger memories of times when they had to respond to intense situations.

Individuals who've been through tense and trying circumstances also may not respond well to other forms of therapy. For example, talk sessions might focus on the worst parts of the experience. EMDR therapy offers a way to approach feelings without activating specific triggers.

Persistent Feelings and Associations

Trauma also frequently causes persistent feelings of shame, guilt, or fear. If someone lost a family member during a natural disaster, they may feel guilty about not being able to save a loved one. These feelings can interfere with the ability to form relationships. A survivor may struggle to pursue desired romantic relationships because they associated strong feelings with previous losses.

Physical Problems

How the brain processes things can filter down to the body. Individuals struggling with trauma may experience physical symptoms like headaches, breathing difficulties, or intestinal disturbances. An EMDR therapist can work with a patient to manage how their feelings contribute to these physical conditions.