EMDR in the treatment of trauma and poor body image
A client and I had a good laugh several weeks ago. As we scheduled the next session, she said “yes, let’s meet again next week so you can do your ABCXYZ therapy on me.” She was referring to EMDR treatment. Let me tell you a little more about how it relates to the treatment of trauma and body image. Many times we hear all these acronyms in mental health and it can feel intimidating not knowing what it means!
What exactly is EMDR?
EMDR stands for eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing. It is a therapy Francine Shapiro began in the 1980s. It has traditionally been used for trauma and now, with more current research, we know it is effective for other concerns too!
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a great treatment to use for individuals who have distress associated with certain memories. These may be traumatic memories, disturbing memories, or overall evoke a negative sense of self when one thinks about them.
Is this therapy safe to use for past trauma?
It is a very safe therapy to use since before the desensitization and reprocessing even begins, the therapist will provide education and containment/grounding exercises for each client. This allows for a sense of safety and boundaries around these memories as EMDR is not about re-living any negative memory!
How does this relate to body image?
Some of our clients come to us with eating disorders and make excellent progress in their recovery. However, they often feel stuck when it comes to body acceptance. This may be because there are some strong memories from the past that are associated with negativity toward one’s body. EMDR can also be a supplemental tool to help someone in their work toward body acceptance.
EMDR can be especially helpful in larger doses. So depending on availability, we are happy to accommodate longer sessions to make the most of the desensitization and reprocessing aspect of EMDR to replace more frequent sessions. This may include weekend availability.