How Does EMDR Work for first responders?
A therapist who delivers EMDR treatment will employ a very specific protocol to address the trauma which is not talk therapy. The goal of these guided sessions is to help the sufferer remember events without the same high level of distress. It has a 99% efficacy rate and is excellent in eliminating the acute stress response and preventing PTSD from developing when an event is caught early.
How Long Does EMDR Treatment Last?
An individual EMDR treatment session tends to last for about an hour but can go for as long as 90 minutes. Intensives may also be indicated if the distress is impairing function in the individual. We like to start with weekly sessions until we can reduce frequency to every other week. In the initial session, the therapist will discuss the goals of the treatment and how it works. Patients will not be expected to bring home “homework” or be expected to discuss the trauma in detail.
What Are the Effects of This Treatment?
Some people will notice positive changes in themselves after a few sessions, but others may take longer to notice improvements. Some people may not find EMDR Therapy effective right away depending on how defensive their protective system is (level of dissociation). Over time, distress associated with event will decrease and disappear, and symptoms we describe as the “Too much’s” such as drinking, working, avoidance, etc, will no longer be present. During treatment sessions, the therapist may or may not invite the client to discuss what’s on their mind, patients will simply be asked to recall aspects of their traumatic experience(s). It’s not uncommon for people to feel intense discomfort, especially early on in treatment. In time, as thoughts and memories are processed, the individual will feel less anxiety and panic when recalling events.
How Is EMDR Different from Other Forms of Psychotherapy?
EMDR Therapy is different than other types of psychotherapy that typically have a goal of altering the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and responses to the triggering event. EMDR has a goal to change where and how the traumatic memory is stored in the brain. That’s decidedly different from other PTSD treatments. Many therapists believe that this change in where the memory is stored can lead to reduced symptoms of the disorder.
If you are suffering from PTSD, EMDR treatment may be the key to your recovery.