treating ptsd in first responders

Still Have Questions About EMDR?

If EMDR is a new term you've added to your vocabulary list, you may have a lot of questions. 

If you're living with PTSD, anxiety, phobias, or unprocessed trauma, your therapist may have suggested you try EMDR. This treatment method has the highest recommendation by the 
Department of Veteran Affairs for those living with PTSD. Likewise, this evidence-based approach has a high success rate in reducing or eliminating symptoms. 

You may have many questions surrounding EMDR. Let's answer them for you, shall we?!

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treating ptsd in first responders

What is EMDR?

EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This method was developed in 1987 by Dr. Francis Shapiro. 

APA clarifies that a key difference with EMDR therapy is that the focus is directly on the memory and how it is stored in the brain. Through the process, using eye movements and a stimulus, you engage both hemispheres in the brain. The intent is to change the way the memory is stored. As a result, this leads to a reduction or elimination of triggers and symptoms. 

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How many phases of EMDR are there?

There are 8 phases of EMDR. Each stage, done in a specific order, helps identify, connect, desensitize and reprocess thoughts and memories. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce or eliminate your current symptoms and distress. 

 identifies the 8 phases of EMDR:

  1. History and treatment planning
  2. Preparation - learn self-soothing, calming techniques
  3. Assessment - Reprocessing takes place in this phase
  4. Desensitization - involves eye movement, taps, or tones
  5. Installation - replace negative beliefs with positive ones
  6. Body Scan - you'll identify any tension left in your body
  7. Closure - engage in self-soothing, calming techniques
  8. Reevaluation - begins every new session, evaluate successes 
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Is EMDR therapy a form of hypnosis?

No. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) helps us understand the main difference between hypnosis and EMDR. 

Hypnosis involves working with a professional to take you into a trance-like state of consciousness. As a result, they're able to guide you past your analytical state of mind so you can access your unconscious memories easier. Likewise, you're likely to be more open to positive suggestions. Once there, the clinician helps guide you toward a predetermined goal or to uncover inner healing within. 

EMDR, however, never takes you into an altered state of consciousness. Likewise, you're alert and focused, and your therapist helps to ensure you remain grounded throughout the session. You are in control and fully aware of what you're thinking, saying, and feeling. Likewise, if at any time you want to stop, you have control over that as well. 

Both serve as powerful tools that can lead to healing and long-lasting change. However, the approach of each is rather different. 

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How will I know if EMDR is working?

One of the reasons why EMDR therapy is so popular is because of the evidence-based results. Many studies show clients report a significant improvement in their mental health. Likewise, they report a drastic reduction in symptoms rather quickly. So, one of the first ways you'll know if it's working is you'll feel different. You may realize a trigger that once sent you into a state of hypervigilance no longer does so. 

Another way to identify if EMDR is working will be through your thoughts. During the fifth phase of the process, installation, new, positive beliefs replace negative ones. For example, "I am strong and in control." may replace "I am powerless." or "I am not enough." You may notice your internal dialogue feels more positive and upbeat. 

You may also notice you're sleeping more soundly. Reducing anxiety and distress may improve your ability to sleep. Likewise, working through trauma may alleviate nightmares. 

EMDR is a powerful tool we use at 
11th Hour Trauma Retreat. This remarkable approach to healing is helping to change the lives of many people. It may be the key to changing yours as well. 

Contact us today to learn more. 

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