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EMDR can help Process Grief

Updated: Jan 2

Developed in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy specifically designed to help people deal with grief and mourning as well as past trauma.


It requires the patient to recall distressing memories and events and reconditions the physical and emotional responses to those memories. EMDR therapy has been validated in over 30 randomized studies.


How EMDR Works

During treatment, a trained therapist guides the patient through reliving traumatic events and the triggers to those events in small doses while simultaneously redirecting the patient’s eye movements or other redirection. This recollection is often less upsetting when the patient’s eyes are diverted. At the same time, the therapist guides the patient to re-frame their emotional response to traumatic events and triggers.


EMDR has been used to successfully treat patients with PTSD and suffering from traumatic memories. It is especially effective with people who struggle to talk about their past experiences. It has also been used to treat depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and eating disorders.


This type of therapy can also help patients process traumatic grief. Traumatic grief often involves some complication which makes it more challenging to move through and resolve. Often, other disorders develop because of this grief.


Patients treated with EMDR are able to release much of the emotional upset caused by grief while still experiencing a natural and healthy response to grief. Through therapy, patients can break free from painful events in their past to create a healthy coping strategy for experiencing and feeling their grief as they move forward.


About the Author

Neeley R. Hughey, PhD, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) and Certified Life with over 20 years of experience specializing in CPTSD, PTSD, Trauma, Depression and Anxiety.


Call 321.757.4015 to make an appointment with Neeley.

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