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What can EMDR Therapy Treat?

Originally EMDR was discovered to work with clients who had a history of trauma and had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Over the past few years the EMDR model of therapy has been integrated into treatment for other mental health conditions.EMDR can treat – anxiety, depression,complicated grief, panic disorder, low self-esteem, and many other conditions that have a component associated with trauma.EMDR Treatment for Depression.One of the EMDR techniques used to treat depression is identifying the core negative beliefs or thoughts the client may have about themselves or the world. Such as, “I am useless” “The world is a bad place”These thoughts can trigger depressive symptoms which can significantly impact the quality of someone’s life.The therapist will help a client identifying these specific thoughts and the underlying experiences, life events, or traumatic memories that led to the development of these beliefs.EMDR also treats the uncomfortable emotions and body sensations associated with these negative thoughts.All of which begin to alleviate the symptoms of depression.EMDR can also be used to treat major depression (MDD) with the same technique of identifying the triggering negative beliefs and self-talk that cause depressive symptoms.EMDR treats these symptoms by:• The reducing of re-experiencing trauma memories.• The ability to manage and cope with  the memories without feeling the need to avoid potential triggers.• Being able to engage in and enjoy relationships and pleasurable activities.• A reduction in feelings of stress, anxiety or panic. Allowing the client to live their life without feeling fearful.• Reducing the feelings of depression. hopelessness and isolation.• All of which will boost self-confidence and self-esteem.EMDR treats Social Anxiety Disorder.Social phobia, also known as social anxiety can be treated using EMDR therapy. The discomfort felt in social situations can cause extreme anxiety and panic, which can lead to isolation.Social anxiety can be a frustrating cycle. The less we socialise, the more we can fear being negatively evaluated by others and judged. This behaviour furthers the deterioration of our social skills and confidence and, in turn, reinforces the existing social phobia.EMDR treats social anxiety in the same way, EMDR therapy treats depression, by targeting the negative beliefs and triggers.These may include:• Being introduced to other people• Going to unfamiliar places• Feeling teased or criticized• Thinking your watched or observed while doing something• Feeling out of place or insecureEMDR therapy can be used to treat Grief.It is ‘normal’ to feel a range of emotions when someone close to you dies. Shock, disbelief, sadness, numbness, and anger are all expressions of grief. Bereavement is something most people never ‘get over’ but in time and with support these feelings subside to a manageable level.However, if the feelings do not improve over time and are extremely intense and interfering with a person being able to function in daily life, the person may be suffering from a condition called – complicated or traumatic grief.This may happen when the loss of a loved one has been unexpected and very sudden. Or when the situation around the death was traumatic. Death which are seen as preventable maybe also more difficult to come to terms with.This trauma can feel so overwhelming and if unprocessed. A trigger such as seeing someone who looks like the person who died or passing the place where they lived or negative thoughts such as “I should of done more” can reactivate the unprocessed memories and feelings of reliving the original trauma. EMDR treats the physical feelings of grief, emotions and negative thoughts. It can work with all these levels of grief.It helps to process the trauma and get you to a point were it feels less painful, emotionally charged and in the past. The negative thoughts turn into more adaptive, useful ones like ‘I did all I could’.Counselling using EMDR can be very effective treatment in easing the trauma of grief.EMDR therapy can boost Confidence and Low self-esteem.Part of the EMDR treatment is to replace the past, unhelpful negative belief about yourself or the world with a positive one. For example – “I am a failure” to “I did the best I could” This process in itself can boost self-esteem and confidence.Beliefs are often built on past memories and unreal assumptions placed on us by ourselves or others. They are given power by repetitious and recollection. EMDR therapy breaks this cycle by helping you release old messages trapped in your mind/ body. Messages you took in with or without awareness from past experiences. Reintegration of the old, unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, with new, more positive and freeing self-perceptions will help you feel more confident.After EMDR therapy, people report feeling:• A sense of feeling more grounded and trusting themselves• More connection to their authentic self• More in touch with their sense of creativity   • A capacity to see and use their strengths • Ability to embrace their imperfections that can’t be changed • More willing to invest in self growth• Ability to fully honor who they are as whole • Focus to create a fulfilling life• Able to ask and reach out for helpAs this blog illustrates, EMDR treats many conditions.
Take a look at our blog EMDR therapy what to expect to find answers to the most commonly asked questions.
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