What types of pain can EMDR help with?
Research and experience suggests EMDR can help with the following kinds of pain;
- Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
- Headache pain
- Burn pain
- Phantom Limb Pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Post-operative pain
- Interstitial Cystitis
What kind of results can I expect?
Results vary. Where the pain is driven primarily by emotional factors (eg; trauma,) significant even total pain cessation is possible. Where the pain is associated with physical pathology associated with illness or injury, the best that may be hoped for is improved pain control, reduced overall pain experience, improved sleep and reduced anxiety and depression.
The most important factor in EMDR treatment of chronic pain is not so much the type of pain as your psychological resources. The greater your ability to concentrate and experience decreased emotional distress in response to the Dual Attention Stimulus/Bilateral Stimulus, the greater your ability to benefit from this treatment.
How much research is there regarding EMDR treatment of chronic pain
As of 2012 there are over 10 peer-reviewed research articles reporting positive results in EMDR treatment of chronic pain. MarkGrant is conducting a randomized study in 2012/13 which should lead to wider professional acceptance of the method as a treatment for pain.
How many sessions does it take?
This depends on each individual case and the extent of other medical and psychological problems associated with the pain. You should be able to tell whether the method helps within two or three sessions, and its then just a matter of integrating self-use of Bls/DAS into your pain-management routine.
How can I use this method to help myself?
One of the core treatment elements of EMDR involves focusing on the pain whilst stimultaneously attending the bilateral auditory tones. In most people this results in decreased pain, feeling as though the pain is further away (distancing effect), reduced anxiety and stress and sometimes drowsiness. You can learn to use this process through purchasing Mark Grant’s ÇD’s incorporating DAS/Bls and/or seeking help from an EMDR-trained therapist. Because of the concentration and memory problems, and emotional disconnection experienced by many chronic pain sufferers it is probably worthwhile having at least a few sessions with an EMDR therapist – this will enhance your use of the DAS/Bls. Because of the methods potential to trigger traumatic material associated with pain.
Self-use of DAS/Bls is not recommended in people with severe unresolved trauma, dissociative disorders or epilepsy without professional supervision.
What is Psychological Therapy?
Psychological Therapy refers to the use of mental processes (thoughts, feelings and behaviors) to change negative patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. Psychotherapy is “Treatment of emotional, behavioral, personality, and psychiatric disorders based primarily on verbal or nonverbal communication and interventions with the patient, in contrast to treatments using chemical and physical measures.” Simply put, psychotherapy aims to alleviate psychological distress through talking, rather than drugs. Psychological Therapy is an evolving science, from the free association of Freud’s couch to Cognitive Therapy and the use of emotionally-focussed approaches. Although psychotherapy inevitably involves some introspection and analysis of past learning, modern psychotherapy ends to be a fairly goal-focused approach aimed at alleviating the client’s negative symptoms and enabling them to move forward in their life as quickly as possible.
The latest therapies are designed to be consistent with brain structure and functioning, based on recent discoveries from neuroscience. These include Eye Movement Desensitization & reprocessing (EMDR) and emotionally-focussed therapies (EFT). The advantage of therapies which are sympathetic to brain functioning is that they draw on the individuals affective resources to alleviate emotional pain. Since affective distress is a major part of most psychological problems, it makes more sense to work directly with them. Regardless of which approach is used, the aim is always to find or build the resources each person needs to live, love and laugh, as effectively as possible.
Psychological Therapy is fast becoming a rite of passage as at some time in their life most people will feel overwhelmed by life to the extent that they need professional help. We also recognize that the origins of life’s problems are rarely as simple as ‘bad parenting’ or poor self-esteem and that they usually involve some combination of developmental factors, genetic factors and present life circumstances. Reflecting this complexity, we thoroughly assess each client not only for their symptoms, but also strengths, capacities and resources. We then try and match the client and their needs with an effective therapy which is suitable for their needs. We rely on a range of evidence-based therapies, which we select according to individual circumstances and needs. One depression sufferer may need trauma therapy (eg; EMDR) to address some unresolved childhood adversity. Another may simply need to learn how to have more fulfilling relationships (eg; IPT).
Some of the main methods we use include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy(ACT) and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR). We might also use couple’s counselling, Family Therapy, Hypnosis and psychoeducation. (see the ‘treatments’ page for a brief description of the main methods we employ).
We recognize that the decision to seek therapy is a significant one. It may involve a fear of losing control, fear of being weak, or just doubts about whether change is possible. We see therapy as a collaborative process and encourage you to call either of us of you have any further questions and to always feel free to voice any concerns or questions. If we do not feel we have the right skills to help you, we will try and suggest someone who we think can.