EMDR and The Impact Its Had On My Life

Since I was diagnosed in 2012 with Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder with co-morbid anxiety and depression I have struggled with horrific flashbacks of my child abuse at the hands of a paedophile ring in the 1970s and 1980s in Ireland organised by my parents. The fact that my primary caregivers were among my perpetrators and betrayed me was devastating.

Through luck I was referred to a genius of a psychotherapist who specialised in EMDR and talk therapy. Through EMDR she was able to access my abuses and the process them through talk therapy. Those memories that she had processed are now tolerable memories and are consigned to the past. I still remember them but I can live with them. They no longer traumatise me. The trouble is I was abused from the age of 4 to 18 and then was abandoned onto the streets of Dublin where I lived on the streets before being taken in by The Salvation Army. That is a long time to be abused so it is a lot of trauma to be processed so it is taking a long time. However, we are making progress. At times I become overwhelmed and take overdoses and self-harm to cope. We push on and I have full faith in EMDR as the right treatment for me.

So what is EMDR?

EMDR Therapy – What Does EMDR Stand For? – EMDR stands for  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy.  It is a fairly new cognitive-behavioral treatment technique that combines cognitive processing and exposure methodology to treat conditioned emotional responding and other trauma-related symptoms.

An experiment showed that EMDR-with eye movements led to greater reduction in distress than EMDR-without eye movements.  Heart rate decreased significantly when eye movements began; skin conductance decreased during eye movement sets; heart rate variability and respiration rate increased significantly as eye movements continued, and orienting responses were more frequent in the eye movement than no-eye movement condition at the start of exposure.

Findings indicate that the eye movement component in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is beneficial, and is coupled with distinct psychophysiological changes that may aid in processing negative memories.


EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, controversial cognitive treatment technique used to treat conditioned emotional and trauma-related symptoms.  It is aimed to correct psychophysiological correlates and the effectiveness of different dual-attention tasks, used during eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  This kind of treatment is rendered to people that have experienced some sort of negative memory trauma either as a kid or as an adult.

Sixty-two non-clinical participants with negative autobiographical memories received a single session of EMDR without eye movements or EMDR that included eye movements of either varied or fixed rate of speed. Subjective units of distress and vividness of the memory were recorded at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 1-week follow-up.  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing integrates well into a family systems approach.  The amount of time the complete treatment will take depends on upon the history of the client(s).

There are eight phases of treatment available starting from the history of the incident and treatment planning, preparation, assessment, reprocessing, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure and reevaluation to be sure the treatment worked.   The goal of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems and to include new ones that are needed for full health. “Processing” does not mean talking about it. “Processing” means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be “digested” and stored appropriately in your brain.

Who is an EMDR Therapist?

EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapist are the professional, specially trained for an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.  EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.  The therapist uses all the protocols to treat patients.  

When was EMDR Created?

EMDR, otherwise known as Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing was created by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.  She first discovered and developed the protocol behind EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in 1987 to help people process traumatic memories.  More information can be found at the Institute

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin

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