Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What is EDMR?

So close to EDM! Ha! Youth!

The Current Sea animated GIF

EDMR is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. It was created in 1987 as a way of treating PTSD.

The wikipedia entry describes it as follows...
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology. It is used to help with the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli are inadequately processed and stored in an isolated memory network. 
The goal of EMDR is to reduce the long-lasting effects of distressing memories by developing more adaptive coping mechanisms. The therapy uses an eight-phase approach that includes having the patient recall distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input, such as side to side eye movements. 
In reading The Noonday Demon, I was introduce to EDMR by Andrew Solomon, who actually recommends it, "I always came out of my EDMR therapist's office reeling (in a good way); and the things I learned have stayed with me and enriched my conscious mind. It's a powerful process. I recommend it."

See! Recommended! How rare!

In an article on EDMR on The Atlantic:
People describe that the memories become less vivid and more distant, that they seem further in the past and harder to focus on.
It is very odd sounding, but it does seem to be getting traction. And Solomon himself has tried countless therapies. His recommendation has weight.

The therapy isn't considered as sketchy as it once was, and is now openly recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Departments of Defense and of Veterans Affairs.

The Atlantic article even mentions the growth in treatment, and how it is being applied to a wider variation of those suffering from trauma and stress.
There seems to be a surge in people—like refugees and returning soldiers—who could use quick-acting, effective trauma therapy. One recent study found that EMDR might be effective for Syrian refugees in camps. Another found that soldiers and veterans might benefit from EMDR, though exposure therapy came out as a more effective treatment in that study. Yet another paper found that EMDR works better than other therapies among obese people who have trauma in their past.
I wonder how applicable it would be to me. My main issues is depression, but I also have very specific triggers that seem to have traumatized me, and I do have a history of eating disorders. I'm also just, a bit of a mess I guess. 

I've reached out to a few Montreal-based EDMR therapists, and two have responded to me. The sessions are expensive, so I'll see if I can figure it out. 

Maybe I'll try it. 

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