EDMR Therapy + Veterans: Does It Work?

Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is an increasingly popular therapeutic intervention that is commonly used to treat those who are struggling due to trauma exposure and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many veterans seek out this therapy when managing PTSD symptoms as part of their treatment process, but what is EMDR therapy and how effective is it in helping veterans to heal?

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is, in most cases, the practice of recounting the events of the traumatic experience while focusing the attention on a moving target (usually the therapist’s finger moving back and forth), a tapping sound, or musical tones. After the traumatic events have been recounted by the client, the therapist will then guide the session to more pleasant and calming thoughts, continuing the eye movement and/or use of sound.

The idea is that the rapid movement of the eyes can help to diminish the intensity of feeling and effect of recalling the traumatic events, especially over time with repetition. Clients rate their stress levels before and after each session to track how they are feeling over time and whether or not the therapy is having a positive effect.

Is EMDR Therapy Effective?

Many clients report feeling some level of relief after each session and cite the therapy as a coping mechanism that helps them to lower their overall stress levels and experience of PTSD symptoms. Clients have not only reported success in using EMDR therapy to address trauma and PTSD but also, in some cases, in addressing issues related to addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, and panic attacks.

The use of EMDR therapy is relatively new and considered an alternative or nontraditional therapy. Its use is debated among professionals, but evidence is growing to support its use among clients struggling with certain sets of mental health symptoms.

Can Everyone Benefit from EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is recommended in certain situations based on the individual client’s experience with symptoms, life experience, goals for therapy, past attempts at treatment, and more. Each person’s treatment plan should be uniquely designed to meet their individual experience and goals; thus, EMDR therapy is only recommended in certain situations.

Why Is EMDR Therapy a Popular Option among Veterans in Treatment?

PTSD is a commonly diagnosed disorder among veterans, especially those who have returned from deployment in warzones; thus, therapies like EMDR may be more frequently incorporated into comprehensive mental health treatment plans for veterans as compared to the general public.

When used in addition to a wide range of traditional therapies, medical care, family support, and support groups, EMDR may be an effective supplement to treatment for veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD, especially in combination with a substance use disorder, including addiction.

If your loved one is struggling with PTSD, alone or in combination with substance abuse or other mental health issues, we can help. Learn more about our unique program designed specifically to support veterans in recovery through American Addiction Centers today

Like what you read? Give American Addiction Center a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.