Therapy for trauma, stress and anxiety: EMDR and EFT
In this newsletter I would like to discuss two techniques that can be effective for trauma, stress and anxiety complaints. The techniques are special, because they deviate from what most people have in mind when they think of (oral) therapy. Although the patient will sit on a chair in the treatment room of the psychologist for an EFT or EMDR session, he/she will literally make movements.
With EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), the physical movement consists of following the therapist's fingertips with your eyes from left-to-right, while at the same time remembering the memory that is troubling you. This physical movement appears to help to store that negative memory more neutral in our brain, i.e. stripped of previous automatically linked emotions, thoughts and beliefs. The theoretical explanation for the operation of EMDR is that our working memory is overloaded by doing several “tasks” at the same time (thinking of bad memories, making eye movements).
With EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), the physical movement consists of tapping your fingertips on your head and upper body, while concentrating on a negative emotion / feeling / thought that is bothering you. This appears to lead to the bad memory being transformed into a neutral memory that produces little or no emotional reactions. The theoretical explanation is that negative events can block our flow of energy. The blockage is removed by tapping on specific meridian points. A more recent explanation for the effect of EFT is that the tapping stimulates the relaxation response and, when concentrating on a stressful or traumatic experience simultaneously, it extinguishes the stress response.
EMDR is a scientifically based and proven effective treatment method. EFT is more controversial. The theory that negative emotions disturb the balance of energy meridians is sometimes met with resistance.
The fact that EFT works can certainly be explained by other factors.
In my experience, EFT almost always brings about relaxation. That's why I like to teach my patients this practice as a self-help tool. It helps to learn to reflect on feelings and thoughts, while “moving” (by tapping on certain points). Which perhaps initiates the same principle as with EMDR: overloading the working memory by simultaneously thinking about the event while being distracted because you have to make movements. But this has not yet been scientifically proven.
When it comes to a major or complex trauma, I always choose EMDR. With lighter issues, EFT is a nice (relaxation) technique to use, partly because you can be trained to do EFT at home (without the intervention of a psychologist).
If you have any questions or are thinking about seeking help with the processing of (large or small) trauma, please do not hesitate to contact Gerlinda Smit, psychologist.
Website: https://www.gerlinda-smit.com/ & telephone: 669 579 996.
Or through Centro Mar y Salud: 952 53 20 65.