There are particular benefits in utilizing EMDR for treatment of PTSD. When someone has PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they have trauma physiology dysfunctionally stored with the memory (or memories) of the traumatic event in their neural networks. At any time, they could be consciously or unconsciously triggered and reexperience a very painful event in the form of body sensations, flashbacks, negative emotions or a multitude of other disturbing physiological responses.
In order to cope, people with PTSD will naturally try to avoid being triggered as much as possible. Often, their world becomes very small and they end up avoiding many things in life because, depending on the traumatic event, so many things can be triggering, sounds, smells, fast movements and certain situations. PTSD can be unbearable to live with.
Though there are several modes of therapy that can be used to treat PTSD, what makes EMDR uniquely effective in treating PTSD is its focus on the body sensations. In addition, EMDR clinicians are trained to keep a client in their “window of tolerance”, a term introduced by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel referring to the optimal zone for reprocessing trauma, not too much sensation and emotion and not too little.
It’s important not retraumatize the client by exposing them to the traumatic sensations too quickly and overwhelming them which could make the PTSD symptoms worse. This will also interfere with the goal of PTSD treatment which is integration and discharge of the traumatic physiology and emotion. The client needs to safely reexperience the traumatic memory with the associated body sensations and emotions while in the presence of a supportive, knowledgeable and trusted therapist while staying in their “window of tolerance”. A good EMDR therapist will evaluate what a client needs in order to be able tolerate EMDR processing and help them to stay in their “window of tolerance” so that reprocessing is possible.
Another significant benefit of EMDR treatment of PTSD is that the client is not required to discuss the traumatic event details which can be very difficult for traumatized people. A person can successfully reprocess their traumatic experiences without describing the details of their traumas. In addition, depending on the complexity of the case, treatment can be surprisingly brief.
About Barbara Edelman, MSW, LCSW
I am a Licensed Psychotherapist in Saint Louis, MO.
I am certified in EMDR and specialize in treating Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Trauma in adults and adolescents and helping my clients develop a sense of peace, comfort and connection in their lives and relationships.
If you have anxiety or depression or think you may have unresolved trauma and would like to work with a Saint Louis area therapist who specializes in anxiety and trauma, please contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation at 314-780-4906 or email me now to schedule a time firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.barbaraedelmanmsw.com.