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Desensitization and re-processing through eye movements) is a therapeutic approach used for the treatment of trauma and problems related to stress, especially traumatic stress.
The EMDR focuses on the memory of the traumatic experience and is a complete methodology that uses eye movements or other forms of alternating right / left stimulation to treat disorders directly linked to traumatic experiences or particularly stressful from an emotional point of view.
After one or more sessions of EMDR, the disturbing memories related to the traumatic event have a desensitization, they lose their negative emotional charge. The change is very rapid, regardless of the years that have passed since the event. The image changes in content and in the way it presents itself, intrusive thoughts generally soften or disappear, becoming more therapeutically adaptive and physical emotions and sensations are reduced in intensity. The processing of the traumatic experience that occurs with the EMDR it allows the patient, through the desensitization and cognitive restructuring that occurs, to change perspective, changing the cognitive assessments of himself, incorporating emotions appropriate to the situation as well as eliminating physical reactions. This allows, ultimately, to adopt more adaptive behaviors. From a clinical and diagnostic point of view, after a treatment with EMDR the patient no longer presents the typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, therefore there are no longer aspects of intrusiveness of thoughts and memories, avoidance behaviors and neurovegetative hyperarousal towards stimuli related to the event, perceived as danger. Another significant change is that the patient better discriminates between real and imaginary dangers conditioned by anxiety.
After the EMDR the patient remembers the event but the content is fully integrated in a more adaptive perspective. Experience is used constructively by the individual and is integrated into a positive cognitive and emotional pattern. That is, the patient makes the connections of appropriate associations, what is useful is learned and stored with the corresponding emotion and is available for future use.
In the thirty years since its discovery, by the American researcher Francine Shapiro, the EMDR has received more scientific confirmation than any other method used in the treatment of trauma. Today it is recognized as a method evidence based for the treatment of post traumatic disorders, approved, among others, fromAmerican Psychological Association(1998-2002), fromAmerican Psychiatric Association (2004), from'International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2010) and ours Ministry of Health in 2003. The World Health Organization, in August 2013, he acknowledged the EMDR as an effective treatment for trauma and related disorders.
The effectiveness ofEMDR has been demonstrated in all types of trauma, both for the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than for minor injuries. Recent research shows that through the use ofEMDR, people can benefit from the effects of psychotherapy that would once have taken years to make a difference. In fact, some research has shown that between 84% and 90% of patients who reported the experience of a single traumatic event no longer showed the symptoms of a PTSD after only 3 sessions of EMDR 90 minutes each. The effectiveness ofEMDR in the treatment of PTSD is now widely recognized and documented, but currently the EMDR it is a widely used therapeutic approach also for the treatment of various pathologies and psychological disorders. Given the importance that traumatic events (be they single traumas or cumulative and relational traumas) play in the development of different pathologies, it becomes important to face them through an approach that takes into account and is able to intervene on the traumatic origin of these disorders.
Research concerning the EMDR it is one of the first in which the neurobiological changes that occur during each session of psychotherapy were highlighted, making the EMDR the first psychotherapeutic treatment with proven neurobiological efficacy. The findings in this field confirm the association between the clinical results of this therapy and some changes in the structures and functioning of the brain.