How Quickly Does EMDR Help Alleviate Symptoms of PTSD?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an alternative therapy that is rapidly growing in popularity for the treatment of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. This technologically-enhanced therapy, has shown to improve mental health at faster rates and in more sustainable terms than cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other forms of treatment. 

EMDR involves engaging different parts of the brain through sensory input, such as hand tapping, auditory input, or visual stimuli. The client focuses on the sensory input while being guided through a therapeutic session with the therapist. They may be asked to recall certain traumatic memories or discuss negative feelings while focusing on these sensory inputs. This not only allows the brain to reprocess the memories by working all areas of the brain, but can make the recall of certain memories less traumatic than in traditional therapy settings. 

This type of treatment uses theories of exposure therapy, CBT, and other forms of psychotherapy to specifically treat PTSD and mental disorders caused by traumatic memories or events. By bringing the event into the working memory while other sensory information is being processed, the brain can tackle these otherwise “blocked” memories and emotions more methodically. The experience is typically less emotionally stressful and can help reduce the emotional effect of these memories over time. 

Typically sessions last for 90 minutes, However, even just a few hours of EMDR can create lasting results for clients. Over 30 controlled EMDR studies reviewed by the EMDR Institute show positive effects for clients after several weeks of therapy. In some studies, it is concluded that PTSD symptoms can be reduced to minimal levels in as little as three sessions. In a majority of these studies, however, positive effects can be seen in six to twelve sessions. 

If you have been in traditional therapy for months or years with minimal results for your trauma or anxiety related disorder, EMDR may be right for you. This therapy option is non-invasive and can give lasting relief to clients in a matter of months. You will want to discuss with your therapist if EMDR is right for you. 

To learn more about the effects and options for EMDR in Tampa, contact the Reboot offices today.