EMDR As A Psychotherapeutic Approach: What Are Its Benefits?

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If you have gone through more traditional psychological therapies, you may already be clear, at least in good part, about what the milestones of your life have been (adverse situations, traumatic life experiences, conflictive and dysfunctional relationships, negative patterns and learning, etc. .) that have left you wounded and that generate, even to this day, a lot of suffering in your life. All of this spoken and understood inside the psychological office.

But then in practice, and faced with similar situations, people or relationships that you encounter in real life, theory and understanding are insufficient to avoid stumbling once again over the same stone, and with increasingly more consequences. painful This is because the changes occur at deeper levels where it is not possible to reach with “spoken” therapies.

Therefore, if you are thinking about starting a new psychological therapy and are evaluating the possible alternatives, this article will help you make better decisions when choosing the therapeutic approach to work, since here I explain why EMDR is the model par excellence (one of the most recommended by the WHO), to address your current problems, allowing you to see for yourself throughout the sessions how the reprocessing of traumatic situations and/or adverse life experiences is the key to leaving behind your discomfort and feel that you can move towards a better quality of life.

What makes an experience traumatic?

There is a more well-known and traditional definition of trauma, to indicate those types of specific experiences with great disturbing power, such as an accident, an assault, the death of a loved one, an abusive situation (among others). But there are also many other life situations – even much more everyday ones – that, due to their subjective nature, can be considered “small t” traumas, since they are experienced internally in a very disturbing way by the patient; for example, a childhood marked by parental arguments and conflicts, situations of neglect in parenting, the emotional unavailability of parents, or exposure to a very demanding model of school performance, experiences of loneliness, helplessness, exposure to criticism of others, among many others.

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As we already said, the concept of trauma can be very subjective, and its experience as such will depend on the internal resources that the person has to be able to process these adverse situations adaptively and positively. Our brain, every time we go to sleep, does this work of processing experiences, saving in its memory networks every experience it had that day.

An experience becomes traumatic when, due to its great disturbing content, it ends up exceeding the capacity of the brain (and the organism as a whole) to process such disturbing material. Then the experience is not stored as part of the past, and manifests itself again through symptoms that are triggered by certain situations in our present (flashbacks, negative beliefs about oneself, anxiety, fear, etc.).

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How does EMDR work and why is it so effective?

What the EMDR model (Reprocessing and Desensitization through Eye Movements) does is simulate the natural functioning of our brain in its permanent and instinctive search to positively and adaptively process the information of each experience.

So through bilateral stimulation (which also emulates the eye movements that our eyes make in the REM sleep phase while the brain processes information), The therapist stimulates in a safe, focused and directed way so that the patient has the opportunity in the office to reprocess the experiences that could not be processed or stored by our brain at the traumatic moment in which they happened, doing so in a careful context. safe, guided and previously prepared by a specialized professional. This is how the traumatic experience is reprocessed and loses its disturbing potential. Our relationship with the memory is modified, and the symptoms and discomfort disappear from the present.

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The latest scientific studies have revealed that this therapeutic model is the most effective in terms of costs and time, since in an average of 12 sessions the patient can already self-verify a considerable reduction in the symptoms and discomfort that led to the diagnosis. consultation. And these changes are also the most sustained over time.

So now you know, if you haven’t decided yet and want a deep and sustained change, I encourage you to go beyond the word and trust in the capacity of your brain, which instinctively (and with a little extra help) will know very well how to do things.

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