What Problems Is EMDR Therapy Applied To?

What problems is EMDR Therapy applied to?

EMDR therapy is a form of psychological intervention that aims to modify specific neural interconnection patterns without the need to apply invasive strategies such as medication or surgery. This tool, which was developed in the United States in the late 1980s, has rapidly become widespread in psychotherapy consultations, and has come to be applied to intervene in problems that go beyond its initial objective.

In this article you will find a brief summary of the problems in which EMDR therapy is applied and what it is for in the field of mental health.

How does EMDR work?

To begin with, let’s clarify what this form of therapy consists of. “EMDR” is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which already gives some clues about how psychologists who apply this tool work in their care of patients: it has to do with eye movement, desensitization (i.e. , the fact of weakening a very strong emotional reaction to certain stimuli and situations), and the reprocessing of certain mental contents that have been “installed” in the brain in a defective way.

The mention of eye movement patterns is based on the most common modality of application of EMDR therapy, which seeks to carry out a process of bilateral stimulation of the two hemispheres of the brain by making the patient follow with his gaze an object that He changes his position through his visual field (for example, the therapist’s hand) while exposing himself to mental contents that have been giving him problems and causing him to experience emotional crises. Now, bilateral stimulation can also be done through other senses; for example, using tactile or auditory stimuli. The objective is not to make changes in the senses, but in the sensory information processing center: the brain, where it is stored in the form of memories.

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In this sense, EMDR has several things in common with systematic desensitization, and as we will see, it is used especially before psychological disorders characterized by disruptive experiences linked to anxiety or anguish. What we try to achieve is that, through bilateral stimulation carried out at the same time that the person faces destabilizing mental contents, these become well integrated into the emotional memory system; It is not about erasing memories or blocking them, but on the contrary, making them associated and connected with the rest of the memories in a normal way.

What psychological problems is it used for?

As we have anticipated, EMDR therapy is closely linked to the problems linked to panic and anxiety attacks, something that occurs especially in the case of psychopathologies classified as anxiety disorders but is not limited to these. In fact, it was initially designed to specifically help patients suffering from psychological trauma in some of its forms, with post-traumatic stress disorder being one of the most common diagnoses in that area.

Similarly, EMDR therapy can also be used in cases of complicated grief, that is, the psychological alteration arising from a grieving process (normally, for the loss of a loved one) that has not been adequately resolved and is becoming chronic. It is another example of how certain components of memory can trigger an emotional reaction that is too intense or disabling without the person suffering from it being able to get out of that vicious circle of discomfort and avoidance (of stimuli or memories).

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Another problem that is addressed with EMDR therapy in the psychologist’s office is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This psychopathology is characterized by cycles of destabilizing intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and stereotypical actions that the person feels the need to carry out so that they leave their consciousness.

Also in these situations there are emotionally charged mental contents that emerge into consciousness in a dysfunctional way that is difficult to control.

Thus, the main psychological disorders in which EMDR therapy is applied are:

Are you interested in having psychotherapeutic assistance with EMDR?

If you want psychotherapeutic support to face and overcome any of the disorders we have talked about in this article, contact us.

At Psicomaster we will help you.