What does the research say about EMDR Therapy?

Research indicates that the eye movements used in EMDR help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. When this happens it creates a calming response. This can help decrease anxiety as the calming response is happening as the individual is calling up distressing memories. This process desensitizes individuals to the stress associated with the negative memories, resulting in diminished emotional responsiveness and increases in self-confidence and positive beliefs related to the distressing memories. The findings demonstrate that the goal-directed eye-movements used in EMDR, deactivate the amygdala, which is the core neural substrate of fear learning. In other words, EMDR helps diminish the fear response by re-wiring neural networks.

Several research studies have found that EMDR increases thalamic activation which has been shown to repair failures in cognitive processing, memory storage, emotional responses, somatic issues, and integration of experiences. That means that EMDR assists individuals in re-wiring their brain so that they can effectively integrate their distressing experiences, leading to new perspectives and belief systems.

Current research has also shown that individuals who experience chronic stress may experience panic attacks, insomnia, chronic pain, muscle tension, tension headaches, and digestive issues. These studies have shown that many individuals experience a decrease in these symptoms after participating in EMDR. Furthermore, research on the use of EMDR with individuals experiencing psychotic features found that they had a reduction in hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, and depressive symptoms following treatment.

Lastly, many studies have found evidence that EMDR is not only effective in the short term, but that individuals continue to report a reduction in symptoms long term.

If you are struggling with addiction, anxiety, ADHD, chronic pain, depression, an eating disorder, panic attacks, psychotic symptoms, PTSD, self-esteem issues, or stress related skin problem you might benefit from participating in EMDR therapy. If this intrigues you please contact WellPath Counseling to schedule a consultation at info@wellpathcounseling.com or 503-803-9545.