Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a popular type of psychotherapy that’s useful in helping alleviate the symptoms that stem from trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). First developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR uses rapid and rhythmic eye movements under the instruction of a psychotherapist and is often combined with a series of tapping exercises or the playing of alternating sounds in each ear.
Disturbing events tend to stay locked in our subconscious and those events may replay in our minds repeatedly. EMDR aims to disrupt these painful memories so that healing can begin. The overwhelming majority of women diagnosed with both anorexia and bulimia have experienced a traumatic event in their past, using their disordered eating behaviors as a coping mechanism for the trauma. Common types of traumas experienced by women with eating disorders include:
- Bullying at a young age
- The unexpected death of a friend or family member, which could include a friend or family member committing suicide
- Divorce or conflicts of parents
- Neglected by their parents during their adolescent years
- Moving often from place to place
- Family members that struggled with a drug or alcohol addiction
- Witnessing violence first-hand
- Being physically or sexually abused/assaulted
EMDR Treatment Phases
EMDR has eight treatment phases, including:
Many clients make considerable improvements after just three or four sessions with one of our EMDR therapists. Treating the underlying issues is the key to helping clients with a history of trauma overcome disordered eating behaviors. EMDR can also prove beneficial for women that struggle with co-occurring depression or anxiety. When combined with our other effective therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), clients can make excellent progress in restoring their health.