Begin EMDR Therapy in Smyrna, GA
Navigating therapy, in general, can be difficult. This is especially true for knowing if EMDR treatment is right for you. Our practice understands how daunting this can feel, but let one of our caring therapists do the work for you. Getting started with EMDR therapy in Atlanta, GA is as easy as three steps:
Get started on your journey today with the right foot forward.
How to Prepare for EMDR Therapy
Preparing for EMDR is a process that you and your therapist will discuss. It is important before EMDR to be at a place of relative stability and have some coping or grounding skills since EMDR involves looking at emotionally charged memories. These are all things that you will work on or talk about with your therapist before beginning EMDR in your sessions.
Expectations After EMDR Therapy
After a session where you and your therapist use EMDR, your therapist will ask you to note any unusual thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, or dreams that occur before your next session. If any of these changes are distressing, you and your therapist will talk it through and perhaps revisit the target memory using EMDR. If reprocessing of the target memory is complete, you will feel relief from the distress that the memory or belief was causing and be able to engage with life in a more meaningful, present way.
Many people often feel tired after an EMDR session so it is recommended that you schedule self-care or rest post-session.
Goals for EMDR Therapy
Decrease distress related to traumatic memories and core beliefs that have arisen from trauma
Reprocess traumatic memories and improve adaptive thinking related to the trauma
Improve the quality of daily living and functioning
What is EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic technique. It was originally developed for trauma treatment and seeks to impact the way that trauma memories are stored in the brain.
To sum up, a complicated neurobiological process, when trauma occurs, our brains have trouble storing the trauma memory in a way that allows our logical brain to make sense of what has happened to us.
This difficulty in processing the trauma can lead to flashbacks where we feel the trauma is happening again. It may also lead to challenges connecting to ourselves and others, or persistent feelings of hypervigilance or emotional numbness.
EMDR uses eye movements or other types of bilateral (both sides of the body) stimulation. This helps bring the logical side of our brain into the trauma memory and helps us store the memory more in a more adaptive way. By doing so, the memory no longer has as much of an impact on daily life. EMDR therapy is considered one of the gold-standard treatments for trauma recovery. It has been validated in over 50 peer-reviewed clinical studies.
1. History Taking and Treatment Planning
In this stage, you and your therapist will identify what your goals for treatment are and work through a life and family history. You will identify core memories or themes, both positive and negative, that impact your view of yourself and the world. This will also be the stage where you and your therapist work to determine if you are ready for or this is the right time for EMDR.
2. Preparation and Stabilization
Stage 2 is the point that your therapist will begin to tell you more about EMDR and set appropriate expectations for the process. In this stage, you will also work on developing emotion regulation skills if needed.
At this stage, your therapist will guide you through a process of identifying a “target memory” that informs a negative belief about yourself or the world that is causing you distress. You’ll identify how disturbing that memory feels and what you would like to believe about yourself instead. This might sound overwhelming at first, but your therapist will be guiding you through the process.
Once you have identified your “target memory,” your therapist will begin initiating bilateral stimulation by having your eyes follow a target (a light, hand gestures, etc.) and guide you through the memory. The brain will do a lot of work here and strong emotions can occur as your brain processes previously is-stored trauma. At the end of this stage, the goal is that the memory no longer feels distressing. This can happen in one session or might require revisiting the same memory over multiple sessions.
After the memory no longer feels distressing, your therapist will continue to use bilateral stimulation to help “install” the positive belief that you identified in Stage 3.
6. Body Scan
At the end of Stage 5, your therapist will instruct you to scan your body for any physical sensations. If there continue to be negative physical sensations associated with the target memory, you will go back to Stage 4. If this happens, it is completely normal. Our brains are complicated networks and other beliefs or memories might emerge.
Your therapist will help you mentally return to the present. If you are feeling dysregulated in any way, your therapist will help you ground yourself and guide you through coping skills as you end your session.
In this final stage of EMDR, when you return for your next session, your therapist will bring up the target memory again and ask you to note if any thoughts, memories, dreams, or physical sensations occurred between the end of your previous session and the present. If any distress is remaining, you will return to Stage 3 and begin reprocessing.
8 STAGES OF EMDR
Other Services at Remain Connected Counseling
It is time to start to consider getting the mental health help you need through EMDR therapy in Atlanta, GA. Our team knows and understands these issues, and is ready to guide and navigate you through your journey with EMDR. At our Smyrna, GA therapy practice, we offer services such as teen counseling, counseling for depression, anxiety therapy, online therapy, trauma and PTSD therapy, pastoral counseling. As well as counseling for burnout & stress, life transitions, and more all under a Christian counseling lens. Learn more about our team, check out our blog, and contact us for more information.
Taking that first step to call a therapist is never easy, but let us do the work and help you see it through.