Almost anyone can benefit from EMDR. However, this remarkable therapy was originally developed for the resolution of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to help overcome the particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them. This could be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, combat/war or torture or disasters such as bushfires and floods. As a consequence the individual experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness and horror.
A person with PTSD experiences four main types of problems:
- Re-living the traumatic event.
- Feeling overly watchful (hypervigilance) or feeling wound up.
- Avoiding reminders of the event.
- Feeling emotionally numb.
It is common for people with PTSD to experience other mental health problems at the same time. If untreated, issues such as addiction, depression and anxiety can become entrenched.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2013) Guidelines for the management of conditions that are related to stress, EMDR therapy and CBT trauma focused therapy are the only psychotherapies recommended for children, adolescents and adults with PTSD.
EMDR therapy can be tailored to process past events (abuse, embarrassment and not feeling in control, bullying) to help resolve the related psychological condition. There are specific protocols for:
- Panic Attacks
- Chronic Pain
- Social Anxiety
- Recent traumatic events.