The holidays can be stressful for all of us. For some people, managing stress requires more than time management and breathing techniques. People that have been through trauma are often wired to overreact to stress. For those that have been through trauma events, war, violence, and similar events, everyday stress may be more than they can handle. But help for PTSD and other trauma related conditions is now much more available. According to John M Grohol PsyD in PyschCentral.com, EDMR therapy may work in only 5 sessions.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a type of psychotherapy that, among other things, involves thinking about the traumatic event while attending to bodily reactions and moving your eyes left and right, usually following a light or the therapist’s finger. The therapy focuses on ‘reprocessing’ the trauma memories – essentially remembering and ‘reliving’ them, which seems to play a major role in preventing the uncontrolled memories and flashbacks that are part of the disorder.
Read Dr. Grohol’s article below for more insight into how eye movements can help reprogram people with PTSD’s nervous systems.
Does EMDR Work in Just 5 Sessions
By John M Grohol PsyD in PyschCentral.com
And what about its long-term effects of EMDR? Do the benefits continue even after treatment has ended? Yes again.
For the first answer, I turn to Swedish researchers who examined 24 subjects who had just five sessions of EMDR therapy for the treatment of PTSD. After the five-session treatment, 67% of the subjects no longer met criteria for PTSD (compared to 10% of the control group), and there were significant differences post-treatment between the groups in Global Assessment of Function (GAF) scores and Hamilton Depression (HAM-D) scores. These latter two measures helped to measure how the person actually felt (versus some objective, but clinical, third-party diagnostic criteria). That’s significant, because it means that not only did two-thirds of those who received the EMDR treatment not meet the criteria for PTSD any longer, they actually felt better too. Sometimes researchers forget to measure silly things like that.
How about the long-term benefits of EMDR? Do psychotherapy techniques like EMDR actually help people even after therapy has ended?
To answer this question, van der Kolk and associates earlier this year examined the efficacy of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine, with a psychotherapeutic treatment, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and pill placebo and measured maintenance of treatment gains at 6-month follow-up. They too relied on the clinical diagnostic criteria of PTSD as the primary outcome measure, but also used the Beck Depression Inventory II as a secondary measure (again, that pesky subjective measure needed to help determine whether any of this actually helps a person feel better!). Eighty-eight subjects were enrolled in the study, and the study again focused on brief treatment — this time, only eight sessions of EMDR were administered.
After the eight week treatment block, fluoextine and EMDR were equally effective,
However, six months later, 75% who had been traumatised in adulthood and were treated with EMDR reported having no symptoms. For people traumatised during childhood, a third treated by EMDR were symptom free at 6 months.
In contrast, none of the people in either group treated with fluoxetine managed to free themselves from symptoms.
As the researchers noted, brief EMDR treatment produces substantial and sustained reduction of PTSD and depression in most victims of adult-onset trauma.
So the next time you think psychotherapy has to take months or years to achieve its effects for the reduction in PTSD severity, point your therapist to this entry. Lasting effects can be had in just 5 to 8 weeks.
Read entire article by John M Grohol PsyDhere. Dr. John Grohol is the CEO and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.
Link to abstract of clinical trial.
EMDR Practioners in Chicago
• Ann Foster L.C.P.C. at Millenium Counseling Center
• Jenny Scanlon L.C.P.C. at Millenium Counseling Center
• Nicole Wahlert L.C.P.C.at Millenium Counseling Center