How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

How does EMDR therapy work?

Psychological alterations linked to trauma, such as post-traumatic stress or complex trauma, are part of the psychopathologies with the greatest capacity to damage people’s mental health.

Likewise, anxiety disorders are one of the most common psychological disorders, and are estimated to affect around 10% of the population.

Both forms of discomfort can be addressed by a very useful type of therapeutic intervention, which helps to reprocess memories and the negative emotions associated with them: EMDR therapy. In this article we will see, in summary, what it consists of and how it works.

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What is EMDR therapy?

EMDR therapy is a type of therapeutic intervention developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro at the end of the 80s, and whose main objective is to help people overcome problems related to trauma and anxiety management, intervening in emotional memory.

In this form of therapy, bilateral stimulation exercises play a fundamental role, in which they seek to differentially activate one lobe of the brain at a time throughout several sequences; The objective is to achieve a habituation and desensitization effect, a mechanism not far removed from other therapeutic resources such as clinical hypnosis or systematic desensitization.

Due to the characteristics of EMDR therapy, which is highly supported by experience and the performance of specific exercises under the supervision and instructions of the therapist, this type of intervention It is very useful for people of all agesalso in young boys and girls, since they do not need to understand very abstract reasoning to be able to work on their way of managing their memories and emotions.

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EMDR therapy
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How does this type of therapeutic intervention work?

Compared to other forms of intervention used in the field of psychological therapy, EMDR therapy stands out for focusing on the organic basis of alterations related to thinking and the management of emotions.

That is to say, although the typical techniques of the cognitive-behavioral modality aim to modify patterns of thought and specific behavior by questioning beliefs and internalizing instructions and ways of recognizing emotions and ideas, EMDR seeks to intervene in the way in which the networks of neurons involved in memory and emotions interact with each other.

The reason for EMDR therapy has a lot to do with the idea that many psychological problems, including trauma, arise from a dysfunctional internalization of certain experiences, which remain “filed” in our memory in a way that harms us. Therefore, it is necessary to “edit” the way in which the brain stores and processes these contents, ensuring that they can be integrated into the emotional memory system in a normal way, like the rest of the contents that we can remember and evoke without suffering significantly. thus.

With this objective, Bilateral stimulation serves to access these memories and stop them from being associated with great distress or other forms of emotional distress. These types of interventions are completely painless and non-invasive, and normally consist of relatively simple exercises, such as performing certain eye movements alternately (emulating the way we move our eyes in the REM phase of sleep, although at a much slower speed). . That’s where the name EMDR therapy comes from: “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.”

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Through a series of sessions, The person reaches a state of desensitization to certain memories that he could not previously evoke in a normal way. without suffering emotional crises; Furthermore, the effects of the therapy are maintained over time, which allows the person to turn the page and accept the contents of those memories without trying to block them and without them having a severely disruptive effect on their consciousness and behavior.

Cepsim Psychological Center

Cepsim Psychological Center


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Do you want to have professional psychological help?

If in your daily life you experience emotional discomfort related to psychological trauma or anxiety, it is important that you start a psychotherapy process as soon as possible; These types of alterations can be overcome if adequate professional support is available in the field of mental health.

Therefore, we invite you to contact us; in Cepsim Psychological Center We have more than 20 years of experience intervening in cases of consequences due to child abuse, domestic violence and other forms of traumatic experiences. You can count on us both in our centers located in the most central districts of Madrid, and through the online therapy modality by video call.