Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was developed in the 1980s by a psychologist named Francine Shapiro. At first, her understanding of how bilateral eye movement reduces the power of traumatic memory was based on her own anecdotal observations. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed the efficacy of EMDR therapy for PTSD and other disorders, including addiction, that co-occur with trauma. EMDR makes some people uneasy as it directly addresses traumatic memories. They question the safety of EMDR therapy. In fact, EMDR therapy is very safe. It is also very successful in helping people become desensitized to their trauma so they can experience well-being without being re-traumatized by overwhelming and painful memories.
EMDR therapy treatment in Denver, Colorado, at Mile High Recovery can help you or someone you love work through trauma in order to begin addiction recovery and reclaim their mental health. Is EMDR safe? Is it right for you? To learn more about the effectiveness and safety of EMDR therapy, reach out to Mile High today by calling 303-268-2144 or using our online form.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
The body-mind connection is at the root of what EMDR is and how it works. Under the supervision of a trained clinician, you use eye movement to reorganize the storage system in your brain. Because trauma is an assault on the brain, it gets stored incorrectly as a memory that is recent or immediate, with no chance of retreating into long-term memories, which tend to feel safer and cause fewer immediate reactions.
What that means is you can become triggered again and again by the same trauma, as if it is still happening. It’s no wonder people who suffer from PTSD and other trauma-based mental health disorders live in a constant state of fight or flight and experience flashbacks.
EMDR therapy relocates those memories of trauma. By putting them in their proper place in the brain’s filing system, they can no longer interfere with your well-being, even if a present-day situation is a reminder. You retain your memory – it is not erased – but it holds no more power over you.
Is EMDR Therapy Safe?
You can be assured of the safety of EMDR therapy. When this therapy is provided by a trained psychotherapist, it is not only completely safe but also highly effective.
The therapy is effective for anxiety, depression, panic disorders, delusional disorder, and many other mental health diagnoses in addition to PTSD. It follows a strict regimen that walks the therapist and client through the steps one at a time in eight phases. It is important to work with an experienced and trained therapist because you need to recall specific disturbing or traumatic memories in order to reprocess them and take away their power over you.
Normal, short-term side effects may include:
- Stress due to examining painful memories – this is usually short-lived and can be mitigated by slowing down the process
- New memories of trauma surfacing – which can be painful, but when in the care of your therapist, you are safe and can include these memories in the therapy
- Vivid dreams triggered by the work – these can be shared with your therapist to help guide ongoing EMDR therapy
- Increased emotional sensitivity during the sessions – these can be challenging but remember to share what you are experiencing with your therapist
These side effects diminish as therapy continues, whereas the beneficial effects last a lifetime.
Reach Out to Mile High Recovery
Our staff can answer the question, “Is EMDR therapy safe?” and many others regarding this unique treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders. EMDR is one of many evidence-based treatments offered at Mile High Recovery in Denver, CO. You don’t have to be at the mercy of your traumatic memories. Call 303-268-2144 today or use our online form.