While there is medication and counseling to assist individuals who suffer from PTSD, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is also a treatment option.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is so common there is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs center devoted to understanding it and sharing information with the public. In fact, around 8% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for PTSD. And while there is medication and counseling to assist individuals who suffer from PTSD, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is also a treatment option.
The American Psychological Association informs that the therapy focuses directly on the memory, “to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, thus reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms.”
PTSD can be the result of a personal tragedy, involvement in military combat or exposure to such catastrophic events as 9/11. In fact, psychologytoday.com in October shared that 12.9% of New York City police officers who responded to the 2001 terror attacks reported PTSD symptoms more than a decade later.
EMDR treatment requires somewhat of a long-term approach to undo some of the lingering effects of PTSD; multiple therapy sessions are advised in order for individuals to “relive traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs your eye movements,” according to healthline.com in July. EMDR sessions generally involve eight phases:
1. History gathering and evaluation
2. Coping skills and stress management techniques
3. Identification of targeted memories
4-7. A series of treatment sessions that include centering on a negative thought, memory or image while the therapist simultaneously asks for specific eye movements.
“After the bilateral stimulation, your therapist will ask you to let your mind go blank and notice the thoughts and feelings you’re having spontaneously. After you identify these thoughts, your therapist may have you refocus on that traumatic memory, or move on to another,” said healthline.com.
8. Evaluation of sessions to determine effectiveness
Several studies indicate EMDR therapy works to alleviate symptoms of PTSD, explained healthline.com: “It’s even one of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ strongly recommended options to treat PTSD.”