EMDRHow was EMDR developed?
In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the ntensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain itions. Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved with the contributions of therapists and researchers all overer the world. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.
How does EMDR work?
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works biologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain can't process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering the trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings havn’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negativetive effect that interferes with the way a person interacts with the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR sessionon, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, feelings when the event is brought to mind. You emember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally durg dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing matrial in a new and less distressing way.
What is the actual EMDR session like?
During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about that event. The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention stimulation of the brain, while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content. Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self; for example, “I did the best I could.” During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.
How long does EMDR take?
One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. The therapist will also discuss EMDR more fully and provide an opportunity to answer questions about the method. Once therapist and client have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem, the actual EMDR therapy may begin.
A typical EMDR session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR may be used within a standard “talking” therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
But does EMDR really work?
Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR. These studies have consistly found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminate symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients. Clients often report improvement in associated symptoms such as anxiety. The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychi Association and the International Society for Trauma Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treat for post traumatic stress. EMDR was also foud effective by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, the United King Department of Health, the Israeli National Counsel for Mental Health, and many other international health and governmental agencies. Research has also found that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment for the below listed problems. Further references, a bibliography of research can be found through EMDR International Association's site, www.emdria.org.
What kind of problem can EMDR treat?
Scientific research has established EMDR as effective treatment for post traumatic stress. However, clinicians also reported success using EMDR in treatment fr theo following conditions:
* personality disorders
* panic attacks
* complicated grief
* dissociative disorders
* disturbing memories
* pain disorders
* eating disorders
* performance anxiety
* stress reduct
* sexual and/or physical
* body dysmorphic disorder
Signs of Depression
Many people may feel sad or overwhelmed by major or stressful events in their life. It is normal to feel that way. However, when you find yourself unable to cope with the demands of everyday life, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
How is clinical depression different from just feeling sad or down?
The main difference between sadness and clinical depression is how you are able to carry out day-to-day activities. If your depressed mood has a negative effect on your social, professional, or academic life, you may have clinical depression. Your depressed mood, as well as other symptoms, may cause you additional distress.
One common form of clinical depression is major depressive disorder (MDD, or just major depression). An episode of major depression involves feeling extremely sad or empty for at least two weeks. Sometimes, you may be sad enough to have frequent or prolonged bouts of crying.
Did you know?
Losing interest in daily activities
Another important symptom is losing interest in your normal activities. You may also find no pleasure in doing things you usually enjoy, such as hobbies or spending time with friends. Many people with depression find it difficult to even do basic activities such as bathing or grooming. You may not bother with taking care of your appearance or dress.
Disruption of work and social life
Depression also disrupts your work and social life because many clinically depressed people find it difficult to concentrate. If you have depression, you may find it hard to focus on specific tasks. You may have difficulty processing information. You may also find yourself becoming indecisive.
Aside from feeling sad, many people with clinical depression also suffer from feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You may blame yourself for things that are not your fault. Some people with depression report feeling that their lives are pointless, or that they feel excessively guilty about their perceived lack of meaningful contribution to society or other people. You may also feel hopeless, and that regardless of your situation, things will never get better.
Family and friends are there to help, but you may find yourself isolating yourself from your loved ones. You may be unwilling to go out of your house or even your bedroom for days or weeks at a time. You may lose interest in talking to and socializing with other people.
In addition to changes in mood and thinking, clinical depression also has physical symptoms. If you have clinical depression, your regular sleeping patterns may be disrupted. You may find yourself sleeping more than usual—it is not uncommon for people with clinical depression to spend most of the day asleep. Other people go the opposite extreme. You may have difficulty falling asleep, or find yourself only sleeping a few hours a night. You may also wake up repeatedly during the night and having trouble going back to sleep. Some people with clinical depression report waking up very early in the morning and being unable to go back to sleep again.
Clinical depression also affects the quality, not just the quantity, of your sleep. Studies have shown that people with depression have sleep that is generally less deep and restful. So no matter how much or little you sleep, you may find yourself waking up tired and irritable.
The lack of energy you feel upon waking up may last the rest of the day. You may feel very fatigued or drained of energy, further adding to your inability to carry out daily tasks. You may also be lethargic. Family and friends may comment on your lack of activity and energy.
However, some people with clinical depression may act agitated instead. Even though you do not accomplish any meaningful tasks, you may find yourself acting restless and twitchy.
Clinical depression also has an impact on your appetite. You may find yourself eating much more than usual. You may resort to eating comfort food, such as high-carbohydrate junk food and sweets, in order to feel better. However, it is much more common for people with depression to have a severe lack of appetite. Even if you are not dieting or actively trying to lose weight, you may end up losing 5% or more of your original body weight in a month.
Other physical signs and symptoms have been linked to clinical depression. People with depression may experience actual aches and pains. You may have muscle or joint pains that have no apparent cause. You may have lower back pain that may be very severe. You may also suffer from headaches and dizziness. You may have a painful or upset stomach.
Out of all the signs and symptoms of clinical depression, the most serious one by far is having thoughts of death or dying. You may feel depressed and hopeless enough to end your life. Some clinically depressed people go far enough to have a specific plan for committing suicide. Others attempt suicide, and some are successful.
Asking for professional help
If you find yourself constantly thinking about death or dying, or planning suicide, seek professional help. There is no shame in asking for help when it is needed. Tell someone close to you about your feelings. Remember, the symptoms of clinical depression may seem overwhelming and debilitating, but with proper help, they can be managed.