Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a clinically-proven psychotherapy approach that integrates both parts of the brain to help individuals process past traumas. EMDR utilizes the natural healing ability of the mind and is based on the belief that the mind can heal itself, much like the body does.
The theory behind EMDR is that some memories of traumatic experiences have never been entirely processed, and remain stored in the mind. Since these stored memories are linked to trauma, they can impact the way a person reacts to other negative (though not necessarily traumatic) experiences. During an EMDR session, a therapist helps the patient tap into their stored memories and describe traumatic images while receiving sensory input as side-to-side eye movements.
EMDR is based on the belief that the mind can heal itself, much like the body does.
There are several mental health issues that EMDR has been successfully used to treat, including:
- Feelings of worthlessness/low self-esteem
- Grief and loss
- Panic attacks
It is essential to note that EMDR therapy requires a certain level of emotional and psychological stability, and individuals who are currently experiencing severe mental health symptoms or who have a history of psychotic disorders may not be appropriate candidates for this type of therapy. It’s also crucial to have a quiet and stable location as distractions can impact the effectiveness of treatment.
EMDR is an eight-phase treatment. After a thorough assessment and treatment planning, individuals will begin preparation by enhancing their coping strategies to help work through emotional disturbances. It is important that individuals are well-prepared to begin trauma reprocessing.
Individuals will then be asked specific questions about a particular disturbing memory or event while using eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep. Eye movements will be recreated by having the individual observe the therapist's finger or bar of lights move back and forth across their screen. The eye movements will last a short while and then stop to allow individuals space to report back on their experiences during each set of eye movements. Tapping or the use of headphones tones is also used to recreate this dual awareness. As memories are targeted and worked through, therapists will also work on instilling positive beliefs, scanning the body sensations, and eventually closure.
Brave’s EMDR program is time-limited and consists of 12 weeks of 1-hour long individual therapy sessions.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of therapy depends on many factors, including the therapeutic relationship, the therapist's skills and training, and the specific treatment approach used. It's important to work with a therapist who is qualified and experienced in treating your specific concerns and to choose the therapy format that best meets your needs and preferences.
EMDR therapy has proven to be effective in treating conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, phobias, and more. One study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that EMDR therapy was significantly more effective than cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in reducing PTSD symptoms in veterans.
Several studies have shown that telehealth EMDR therapy can be as effective as in-person EMDR therapy in treating PTSD and other mental health conditions. A recent study found that telehealth EMDR therapy was just as effective as in-person therapy in reducing PTSD symptoms.
Medicare and Medicaid typically cover psychotherapy, including EMDR therapy. To determine if your Medicare or Medicaid insurance plan covers online EMDR therapy, it is best to contact your insurance provider directly. It is important to note that coverage for online EMDR therapy may also depend on the qualifications and licensure of the mental health professional providing the service.
This program is currently only available to patients in Florida.
After completing an initial mental health assessment of the patient’s health and well-being, patients will see a non-EMDR therapist for a minimum of four sessions in order to prepare you for EMDR work. This step is important to ensure that individuals will benefit from the group dynamics and be willing to participate in all aspects of the program. After these sessions, a DBT therapist will meet with the patient to determine if DBT will be a good fit.
This step is important to ensure that individuals have coping strategies to help with reprocessing painful events. After these sessions, an EMDR therapist will meet with the patient to review current stressors, and history of trauma, and understand how they cope with situations. If appropriate for EMDR work, the patient will transfer to an EMDR therapist who will develop a 12-week (or less) treatment plan.