Should You Try EMDR at Home?
The fixation on an event which caused trauma or anxiety is quickly remedied through EMDR practices and then transformed through the unique application of EMDR. Until that transformation can take place, you are at risk for being ‘stuck’ in the painful moment of the past. EMDR works because a skilled and licensed therapist knows how to guide you from the problem moment into a moment of solution. You are at risk for experiencing uncomfortable and triggering symptoms of PTSD if you are unable to pull yourself out of the past and put yourself into another moment. If you are so disconnected that bringing up the moment of origin doesn’t seem possible, trying to find that difficult moment on your own could also be problematic. The psyche is a delicate and vulnerable place, which is why therapies like EMDR are done in the presence and with the guidance of a professional. With time and practice, you may be able to utilize certain EMDR techniques at home to manage panic, anxiety, or trauma.
How EMDR works
EMDR works by creating balance in the brain through simultaneous stimulation. The theory of EMDR is that trauma, anxiety, or panic, is one sided in the brain. Creating balance helps the brain calm down. While creating that balance, a therapist can help their patient reframe the moment which is causing the distress. Quite literally, a patient goes into their own mind and paints a different picture, completely changing their perception of the triggering moment.
First, a therapist has the patient recall the triggering moment and recreate the exact circumstances as best possible, despite any stress or discomfort. The therapist then uses one of many techniques for simultaneous stimulation, engaging both the left and right sides of the brain. Meanwhile, the patient recreates the imagery of their triggering moment again, but with a positive twist. Therapists ask patients to find a way to make the moment feel safe, resolved, and change anything else about the moment which feels triggering. Upon trying to recall the initial experience again, patients are surprised to find that their reinvented version of the event is the only version they can recall.
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