How EMDR Differs From CBT Therapy

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are two commonly used treatments for PTSD. Both are effective treatments, but they are very different in nature. However, the treatment that will give you the best results depends on the conditions, severity, and symptoms of your PTSD. Before talking with your therapist about treatment options, it’s best to have an understanding of the two therapies and their benefits. 

CBT involves examining one’s cognitive distortions like negative thoughts and beliefs and challenging those thoughts and beliefs in the effort of helping the client learn to cope with their PTSD. CBT helps those suffering from PTSD reclaim control in their lives, and helps them learn to cope with any mental distress. CBT was intended to treat depression, but upon further research, it has been found to treat a number of mental health issues such as PTSD and anxiety. CBT is aimed at tearing down your preconceptions of the world and replacing them with healthy ideas about reality.

EMDR is very different. When a traumatic event occurs, a negative belief about yourself is formed.. The brain can’t take the necessary steps to heal until the limiting belief  is removed. EMDR helps the victim of whatever trauma occurred understand that they aren’t to blame for what happened, and that the event is in fact over. 

Over the course of this eight-phase treatment, the client is able to process their traumatic memory in a way that provides them with a peaceful resolution, as well as insight into how to handle other past traumas in a healthy way. This treatment involves the guidance of processing traumatic memories while bilateral visual stimulation is used to activate parts of the brain that are struggling to cope with the trauma. Oftentimes during EMDR, memories release powerful emotions, but afterwards clients are able to better understand their past and mitigate symptoms in everyday life. 

EMDR has been called a gift by many therapists as well as patients, due to its capacity for changing lives.    

If you or anyone close to you is suffering from PTSD, don’t suffer alone. Seek out professional help from Reboot. Anyone can learn to cope with PTSD if they try and have a strong support system behind them. We provide EMDR and other therapies to help you take control of your life and future.