What Can EMDR Be Used For?

November 5, 2019

 

EMDR Therapy was originally studied with individuals diagnosed with PTSD.  Since then, many studies have focused on its efficiency and effectiveness with this diagnosis.  The bounty of empirical evidence supporting EMDR Therapy has lead to recommendations of its use by the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, Veteran’s Administration, Department of Defense, International Society of Traumatic Stress, National Institute of Mental Health, the California Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, and the World Health Organization, which recognizes EMDR Therapy as one of only few therapies approved as  evidence-based, and recommended for use with PTSD.  Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends EMDR Therapy for anxiety and depression, as well as PTSD.  Through research, EMDR Therapy has also been shown to be effective with other diagnosis’ as well, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, OCD, grief and loss, performance anxiety, chronic pain, phantom limb pain, eating disorders, as well as addiction, and impulse control behaviors. 

 

EMDR clinicians may use EMDR Therapy on nearly any presenting problem that a client comes in with, even if it does not appear to be attached to a traumatic event.  That is because EMDR Therapy is a comprehensive psychotherapy that works on automatic thoughts and reactions from our neural, or brain, connections.   Take a moment and notice what pops into your mind after reading the following- “Roses are red… “ It is likely that your brain responded with the automatic thought, “Violets are blue”.  This is an example of a memory template.  Memory templates are the stored learnings from our earlier experiences.  At some point in your life you learned that “Roses are red” and “Violets are blue”.  Memory networks are very important- they allow for us to get up out of bed, get ready for work, drive, cook, pick up the kids from school, etc.  Without them we would be awfully confused about what to do upon waking from our night’s sleep.  Memory networks are also automatic, and can override what we see and know.  Consider this- are violets really blue?  No, actually they are not, yet that didn’t stop our brain from having that thought or questioning its validity.  In the same way, our memory networks can lead us to automatic thoughts, and reactions, that can lead to emotional and/or physiological distress, strained interpersonal relationships, and a limiting of our perceived possibilities.

 

Consider for a moment your own experience.  Can you think of a time when you’ve had an automatic thought or reaction to an otherwise benign event?  Perhaps, a look on someone’s face or tone of voice as they told you something, or an email or phone call that never came.  Inside your mind may be telling you, “See?  I am worthless”, or “I am insignificant”.  These experiences may have linked up with memory templates of earlier experiences and confirmed those negative thoughts about yourself.  Even if your rational mind is telling you “Those things are not true!”, it may feel true- and this can lead to further negative beliefs about yourself, offering further confirmation that you are indeed somehow defective.  Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon experience.  Ask any EMDR clinician, and they can tell you about their own negative cognitions that they knew weren’t true in their rational mind, yet felt true to them.  These automatic reactions and automatic thoughts occur because we are human, and as humans we have the choice to allow them to continue to affect our lives today, or to take action and do something about them.  EMDR Therapy offers us all an opportunity to break free from limiting thoughts, automatic reactions, as well as psychological and physiological distress that come from living a fully human life, in addition to those clearly identifiable traumatic experiences. 

 

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.

 

Coherence Associates Inc.
www.coherenceassociates.com
(760) 942-8663
721 N Vulcan Ave, Suite 106-108, Encinitas, CA. 92024
625 W Citricado Pkwy, Suite 120, Escondido, CA. 92024

 

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