Depression is a mental health disorder that is affecting people not only in the States but in the world over. In the US in 2019 an average of 129 people died by suicide each day, as suicide reached a 20 year high. Anti-depressants can help with these mood disorders but they don’t always work. Newer forms of evidence-based therapy like EMDR might be the answer. Although popular for helping patients dealing with PTSD, anxiety, and trauma, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), has shown incredible results in changing negative beliefs and emotions that cause depression as well.
Francine Shapiro, a Californian psychologist, came up with this psychotherapy form in the 1980s to help people who were unable to move on with their lives because of PTSD. But after much research, it’s been discovered that EMDR can effectively reduce depression in people. EMDR is perfect for individuals who have gone through a seriously traumatic experience that still has a strong bearing on their present lives and negatively affects their daily functioning.
A traumatic experience could be physical or sexual abuse, an accident, seeing a murder, being in a hurricane or flood, and other similar situations. Researchers have also identified that being stuck in negative habits such as alcoholism, abusive relationships, poverty, etc. can cause stress in people which later on with time, translates into depression.
When you go through a traumatic experience, it gets frozen in your brain’s memory system along with then present body sensations, images, emotions, and self-beliefs. Because trauma is frozen in the memory system it can get activated over and over again and cause you to experience the traumatic emotions again. What EMDR does is that it unfreezes this traumatic memory and removes the emotion from it so that when you think of that memory it has no emotional charge on it now.
A therapist starts the EMDR procedure first by taking a serious look at a client’s history. Then, the therapist establishes trust with the patient and explains to him/her what the procedure involves and establishes safety features and resources before initiating the actual treatment. Once the treatment starts, the patient recalls the traumatic incident and focuses on the sensations that come with it. It doesn’t require going into the details of the memory, just a focus on the feeling of it. While the patient is doing that, they also follow the therapist’s fingers moving back and forth with their eyes. Some therapists choose to use auditory tones or tapping instead of moving their fingers.
The same procedure is carried out over several times until the traumatic experience no longer elicits any sort of physical or mental reaction in the patient’s body.
What the Research Says About EMDR
Much EMDR research shows that the processing of painful memories in this way results in the rapid amelioration of the negative impact of troubling memories.
If you’re looking for an EMDR psychologist in Brentwood, get in touch with Susan Quinn as she is a certified EMDR therapist that can effectively use this method to free you off of your bad experiences with relative ease.