EMDR treatment, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, can help eating disorder recovery (EMDR: Treatment for PTSD). What are those four strange letters and how can they help me, you might ask? EMDR, which is performed by someone licensed and trained in EMDR, is a rapid eye movement therapy usually associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because it works to treat trauma. According to the director of the New York Center for Eating Disorders, 40-60% of men and women who they treat for eating disorders have experienced sexual abuse. Since sexual abuse is traumatic, EMDR can help on the road to eating disorder recovery.
EMDR Helps Clear All Kinds of Trauma in Eating Disorder Recovery
You don’t have to have experienced sexual abuse to have trauma stored in your nervous system. We all experience trauma in our lives to varying degrees. So if you’ve been living somewhere on earth, keep reading.
EMDR may sound a little strange at first but it’s not. EMDR was developed by award-winning Ph.D, Francine Shapiro. The premise is that when we experience trauma our bodies don’t have the chance to process the memories properly and we develop maladaptive trauma behaviors including difficulty sleeping, re-experiencing of the trauma, feeling on edge or hyper-alert, or feeling detached (PTSD Symptoms and Signs of PTSD).
One of the benefits of EMDR is that the patient doesn’t have to talk in detail about the trauma, which in “talk therapies,” can re-traumatize the person as they relive the events in their mind.
How Does EMDR in Eating Disorder Recovery Work?
In short, EMDR can take the emotional volume down on traumatic events. The patient is asked to focus on the image of a traumatic event and the negative thought associated with the event.
At the same time, the therapist will move his or her finger back and forth causing the patient’s eyes to involuntarily move back and forth. Sometimes blinking lights are substituted as well as hand tapping, vibrating hand wands, or auditory tones in place of the eye movements.
The sessions are usually 60-90 minutes long. After a successful EDMR session, the patient will still remember the traumatic event but they no longer relive the images, sounds, or feelings of the event. When the emotional volume on the traumatic event goes down, the patient is naturally able to function better in their lives.
EMDR for Eating Disorder Recovery
When used properly, EMDR can help release the reasons the eating disorder started in the first place. The patient can reprocess the upsetting memories in a way that allow them to move forward in their lives and in his or her recovery.
If you’re on the road to eating disorder recovery, or any type of recovery, EDMR can help. Where there is trauma, EMDR can be a helpful tool to help you get your life back.