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How Long Does EMDR Therapy Take to Work?

As with most things in life, each person will respond to EMDR Therapy in his or her own way, and on their own time. Simply put, there is no way of knowing how long EMDR Therapy will take to offer relief of your symptoms.However, more than 30 controlled research studies behind EMDR Therapy have shown overwhelmingly positive results in a relatively short amount of time, sometimes in as little as three to six sessions. Some of the studies have found that 84%-90% of those who experienced a single traumatic incident no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis after only three 90 minutes EMDR sessions.Another study found complete remission of single incident PTSD, and 77% remission for those with multiple traumas, after five 50 minute sessions.A study of combat veterans found 77% of participants experienced complete remission of PTSD after 12 sessions.If you would like to read more about the research supporting EMDR, you can visit the Francine Shapiro library, which includes all of the EDMR research studies completed to date at EMDRIA.org

Since everyone is different, some individuals might need more sessions than others to experience full relief from their distress. For some people, there may be more than one event in their life that has caused them pain, or more than one current symptom causing them distress. Each individual undergoing EMDR therapy will have a specific treatment plan that targets the symptoms and/or events that they would like to work on, and this will be different for everyone.There is a metaphor EMDR therapists sometimes use to illustrate client choice in what to focus on and how far to go: for instance, say someone experienced a car accident six months ago that has left them feeling unsafe while they drive. Perhaps they also have negative thoughts about their value as a person that have been holding them back at work and in relationships, and then there is that thing that happened to them in childhood that they have never talked about to anyone that pops up sometimes, and leads to feelings of upset. So, the client gets to decide: do I want to focus on the accident six months ago, so that I can drive calmly again? Do I want to also target the other problems I’ve been experiencing in my life lately? Or, do I want to go back and work on that terrible thing that happened to me as a child? Perhaps starting with the recent accident and experiencing some relief will be sufficient for this time. Maybe then the individual will have some confidence to examine the other problems they have been dealing with lately. Perhaps this individual has had enough of feeling unsafe for most of their lives, and is in a place to clean their house, to intentionally target those disturbing experiences throughout their lives, and set themselves free from them, which brings them to a current place of health and happiness.These are important decisions, and ones to make in consultation with a trained EMDR therapist, who can guide treatment with the client’s safety in mind. EMDR Therapy is a collaborative effort, with the client and therapist working together in the best interest of the clients’ well being! An amazing thing about EMDR therapy is that we can be inspired, as clients and clinicians. We can clean the table for quick relief, and we can spend some time cleaning and sanitizing the whole house, and every once in a while, schedule some maintenance visits to keep it clean. As we know, the world continues to turn and offer opportunities to experience both delight and unease. EMDR therapists can continue to help clients as other challenges and transitions occur in their lives. However, after doing that deep cleaning and laying the groundwork for mental wellness, even the tune-ups can be quick and efficient, and allow clients room for living LIFE in their life.

If you’d like to learn more about EMDR Therapy, and learn some skills to assist you in your journey of personal growth and mental wellness, Dr. Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR Therapy, has written a wonderful book called, It’s a keeper!

If you would like to talk to an EMDR trained clinician, or have more questions, please feel free to call Coherence Associates Inc. at (760) 942-8663 or email us at info@coherenceassociates.com.

Written by: Walt Ferris, M.S., LCSW

Coherence Associates Inc. www.coherenceassociates.com (760) 942-8663 6183 Paseo Del Norte, Suite 140, Carlsbad, CA. 92011 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 204 Rancho Bernado, CA. 92128

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