Boynton Beach EMDR Therapy

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In psychotherapy, there are different schools of thought – and types of therapy – that different doctors recommend as part of the healing process. EMDR therapy, short for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, is a perfect example.

You see, utilizing EMDR therapy for PTSD was its initial purpose. But recent trials and studies have shown this modality can be highly effective in treating many mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

Whether you’ve never heard of EMDR eye movement therapy or you’re currently researching “EMDR treatment near me” online, Gateway Counseling in Boynton Beach is here to help. We invite you to schedule a session to find out more about whether EMDR therapy is right for you.  

What is EMDR Therapy?

Also known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, EMDR therapy is a type of therapy that is recommended for those who have suffered from different kinds of trauma. Per the EMDR Association’s official website, EMDR therapy was originally developed for patients who were suffering from post-traumatic disorder (PTSD).

Originally developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, this type of therapy first started getting developed when Dr. Shapiro saw that certain types of eye movements under a controlled set of conditions can reduce, not the traumatic thoughts themselves, but the intensity of which these traumatic thoughts are felt. Put another way, EMDR therapy won’t take away the memories of war from a soldier that comes in for counseling, but it will be able to help that soldier deal with those memories better, and not feel a crippling sense of helplessness each time the memories pop up.

This isn’t the type of treatment that can happen “all at once”; rather, this therapy has eight phases that must be completed. And even though many patients report feeling immediate relief after the first phase of treatment – and even after the first treatment session – like an antibiotic run, it’s essential that all the phases are completed in order to get the maximum benefit.

All in all, EMDR eye movement therapy is non-intrusive, safe, and doesn’t always require the integration of psychotropic drugs to work. This, of course, makes it an attractive option for those who wish to avoid integrating psychotropics into their treatment regimen. 

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

Usually, the way EMDR therapy works is that you’ll have sessions with a licensed therapist once or twice per week over six weeks. Each session is typically between an hour to an hour and a half long.

EMDR counseling consists of eight specific phases, and your counselor may utilize multiple phases in any given session. For example, phases one and two are common in earlier sessions, and phases three through eight occur during later sessions.

During these phases, you’ll first focus on the past, then the present, and finally the future. Over time, EMDR will help you learn coping skills for both present and future stress.

Here are the eight phases of EMDR eye movement therapy:

  1. Reviewing history and gathering information. Your counselor gets your complete history to determine whether EMDR therapy treatment is the right choice for you. This also helps you two set goals and decide which issues to focus on during your sessions.
  2. Education and preparation. Your counselor will walk you through the process and what to expect during EMDR therapy. They’ll also share tips and tools to help you feel safe and supported through each session.
  3. Assessment. Together, you and your counselor target a specific memory or event mentioned in phase one. You’ll then identify details like mental imagery related to the memory, the negative thoughts it triggers, and the emotional and physical feelings it causes. Finally, you identify and discuss a positive belief and how it relates to this memory.
  4. Desensitization. While you’re focused on the chosen memory, your counselor adds stimulation such as audible tones or tactile taps, then instructs you to clear your mind and share anything that’s on your mind. If you still have negative feelings, those feelings become the next focus and you repeat the phase.
  5. Installation. This phase is about strengthening the positive belief you chose in phase three. While you focus your thoughts on this belief, your counselor adds stimulation just as they did in phase four.
  6. Body scan. With your positive belief strengthened and empowered, your counselor will ask you to share any physical response you experience while thinking of the original memory and your new belief. If you’re still feeling tense or conflicted, you’ll repeat the stimulation phases until it’s resolved.
  7. Closure and stability. This phase is typically part of all later sessions. You and your counselor will discuss positive progress, ways to maintain your momentum, and potentially homework to help you do so. Homework can include things like journaling and visualization.
  8. Reevaluation. It’s also common for this phase to be present in multiple sessions. You and your counselor evaluate how you’re doing and whether EMDR therapy is proving to be effective for you. You’ll also discuss whether targeting additional memories may be helpful.

Issues EMDR Therapy Can Help With

While EMDR eye movement therapy was initially developed to treat PTSD, current research shows it can be effective for treating a range of mental health conditions, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Addiction
  • Depression
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • OCD
  • Panic disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Personality disorders
  • Phobias

Studies also show that adults, teens, and even children can benefit from eye desensitization therapy. While more studies are being conducted every day, current data shows this modality has the potential to help millions of people who are struggling with their mental health.

When you choose Gateway Counseling as your Palm Beach County EMDR therapist, our top priority is helping you process, heal, and finally be free of the heavy mental burden you’ve been carrying.

So, if we determine that EMDR counseling isn’t right for you, we’ll recommend one of the many other modalities we specialize in based on your specific needs.

Benefits of EMDR Therapy

The potential benefits of EMDR therapy go so much further than treating PTSD and resolving trauma. Some of the positives reported by patients and scientific studies include:

  • Less talking – Unlike other forms of therapy, EMDR doesn’t involve discussing every painful detail of your past. This makes it a great choice if you’ve struggled with talk therapy in the past.
  • Fast results – EMDR is what’s known as brief psychotherapy. While no two journeys are the same, 80-90% of patients said they noticed positive results within three sessions or less.
  • Lessens chronic pain – Studies have found EMDR can significantly decrease pain intensity by activating the region of your brain associated with feeling relaxed and comfortable.
  • Improves negative thinking – EMDR therapy can make it easier to notice, challenge, and truly change the negative self-talk plaguing your thoughts.
  • Increases self-esteem – The goal of EMDR is identifying, processing, and healing from painful memories and negative thoughts. When you realize these feelings aren’t true to reality, your self-esteem can flourish.

Effectiveness of EMDR Therapy

While EMDR therapy is a newer modality compared to, say, psychotherapy or talk therapy, research shows it can be quite effective for a broad range of mental health struggles.

In fact, both the American Psychological Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs recommend EMDR therapy for PTSD.

Here are some other data points about the effectiveness of EMDR therapy for specific conditions:

Learn More About EMDR Therapy with Gateway Counseling Center

The most important thing to remember is that you deserve to fully experience and enjoy all the amazing things life has to offer. Whether you’re considering EMDR therapy for PTSD or a different condition you struggle with, why spend another day carrying the burden alone?

If you’ve been searching online for an “EMDR therapist near me in Boynton Beach,” we invite you to contact us here at Gateway Counseling. Our mission is to help you truly heal and finally feel empowered to live life on your terms.

Get in touch today to learn more about EMDR therapy and take the first step of your healing journey.

EMDR Therapy Treatment FAQs

How is EMDR therapy different from traditional therapy?

EMDR therapy is different from traditional therapy (such as talk therapy or CBT) in that every session is not an hour-long conversation with your therapist.

In a traditional therapy setting, you might spend a full hour discussing how your thoughts and feelings influence your behaviors, and vice versa. Topics such as how to reframe negative thoughts and challenge unrealistic expectations are common.

But during EMDR trauma therapy, you spend far less time talking. Instead, your therapist will guide you through specific activities once they understand your history and current struggles.

How quickly can results be seen with EMDR?

Everyone’s journey with EMDR therapy is unique, but the vast majority (80-90%) of EMDR patients report feeling better within three sessions or less.

This is one of the biggest benefits of EMDR therapy over other modalities. Some types of therapy can take months of sessions before positive improvements become noticeable. However, because EMDR counseling is a form of brief psychotherapy, results typically manifest much sooner.

How is EMDR therapy tailored to individual needs?

EMDR therapy is tailored to your individual needs in that the entire process centers around your own memories and experiences.

The first step in EMDR therapy is discussing your past, such as painful memories, experiences, and events, as well as your current worries in life. From there, every session is designed around helping you heal, process, and move forward from these specific challenges.

If you’re ready to learn more about our EMDR therapy or have questions about our Boynton Beach EMDR therapists, contact us at Gateway Counseling today at (561) 448-6111.

Boynton Beach Counseling Center
Gateway Counseling Center
1034 Gateway Blvd. #104
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
Phone: (561) 468-6464
Phone: (561) 678-0036

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