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How EMDR Works to Treat Depression

How EMDR Works to treat depression
EMDR: A solution to depression, negative thoughts, and anxiety

The main aim of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is to gain full control over how you would be dealing with future distressing situations. There are three main components associated with EMDR therapy:

  1. Past traumatic memories that lead to depression

  2. Coping with present dreadful thoughts caused by unprocessed trauma

  3. Developing a strong coping mechanism and belief system

EMDR is a short-lived therapy that can be completed within 6-12 therapy sessions at Shakti Therapy & Healing Services with certified EMDR therapists. When your memories cannot be adequately processed, your brain tends to generate negative thoughts affecting the daily course of actions and cultural competencies. EMDR facilitates a specific learning process, supported by bilateral stimulation where patients with PTSD are guided to explore their subconscious mind through experiencing rhythmic left-right stimulations, as published by the American Psychological Association (APA). The dual attention activities can be like tapping of the therapists’ hands, sounds coming into earphones, or squeezing a device back and forth in the right and left hand. This brings that patient into a hypnosis state to relax the conscious mind so that they can dive deep into the subconscious state of mind. This is the same mechanism that works in mindfulness activities like meditation and other healing practices.

Your conscious mind is always distracted by everyday chores that you cannot get insight into. In EMDR therapy, you fall into the rhythmic bilateral stimulation that helps you relax and find the lost pieces of the traumatic event. The most common mechanism in this therapy is to move a device in front of your eyes to initiate the hypnotic state. After one minute of following the moving object through your eyes, your physiological states tend to slow down, reflecting the utmost state of relaxation. Bilateral stimulation accelerates the learning process while healing intergenerational trauma, with a similar mechanism used in therapies like visualization, breathing exercises, or mindfulness techniques.

Who Needs EMDR Treatment: The Benefits for Depression

Who Needs EMDR Treatment: The Benefits

1. Depression Diagnosis:

People diagnosed with depression are seen to get the most benefits from EMDR methods. As stated by the EMDR International Association, EMDR therapy is extremely useful in treating PTSD patients, suffering from depression, anxiety, and OCD. The therapy helps people with acute stress disorder and negative mood states, by strengthening their coping mechanisms and resilience.

2. Intergenerational Trauma:

People often get affected by intergenerational trauma, especially Asian Americans, where they inherit a negative mood or anxiety from their ancestors, who first faced the traumatic event. In those cases, people cannot remember every detail of the traumatic event that they have not faced themselves. EMDR, as a beneficial intergenerational trauma therapy, helps strengthen their belief system so that they can deal with negative thoughts.

3. People with Unprocessed Memories:

In some cases, daily activities get affected by sudden uncontrolled pop-ups of negative thoughts in people’s brains causing anxiety. They cannot fully remember the traumatic event but they are well aware of the unprocessed memories. These people generally face difficulties establishing trust and managing emotional intelligence to execute daily activities properly. In this case, EMDR for historical trauma works best to find all parts of the unstructured event.

What Makes EMDR Different from Somatic Experiencing and CBT

Therapies like Somatic Experiencing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) offered at Shakti Therapy & Healing Services, are effective for treating psychological issues associated with PTSD, anxiety disorders, and depression. Surveys, conducted to assess the efficiency of EMDR in treating PTSD, showed the extreme benefits of this method to reduce anxiety and depression, as published by the National Library of Medicine. The main difference lies within the theories of these methods. Unlike somatic experiencing, focusing more on body sensations, EMDR helps process the unstructured memory to strengthen the coping mechanism. On the other hand, CBT deals directly with thoughts and feelings, whereas EMDR does this more peripherally while focusing more on unstructured memory and access to that.

The target of helping you get access to your lost pieces of memory and bring the whole traumatic event from the subconscious to the conscious makes this therapy unique among other mechanisms. In this way, people get full control over the disturbing memory and become strong enough to deal with the further provocation of negative feelings associated with the traumatic event.

The team of professionals in Shakti Therapy & Healing services will provide the required mental health support, assisting you in dealing with negative thoughts. Here you can get effective psychotherapy in Culver City that aligns with your specific requirements ensuring a happy life ahead.

Ektha Aggarwal is an experienced licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and Founder of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services.

Shakti Therapy is a holistic & psychotherapeutic mental health clinic. We realize that we are an integral part of the vast and complex web of life - that the health of the whole is intimately connected with the health of the individual. Shakti Therapy combines both ancient Eastern & the most up to date scientific modalities, to create a basis of connection - mind to body, human to nature, individual to community, physical to spiritual, past to present to future.

To learn more about Shakti Therapy and Healing services, please visit


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