EMDR for Pet Loss Grief Counseling

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is an integrated approach to psychotherapy, bringing together aspects of all of the significant therapeutic orientations – in addition to an element of bi-lateral brain stimulation through eye movement, hand taps, or tones.

EMDR is an approach to therapy that helps people process and heal from troublesome traumatic experiences by connecting what they feel with what they know. EMDR asserts that the human brain has the capacity to resolve emotional disturbance in a manner similar to what occurs spontaneously during rapid eye movement (dreaming) sleep. EMDR is believed to catalyze the same processes that occur in rapid eye movement sleep, so that fast learning and healing can take place.

EMDR for Pet Loss Grief Counseling

EMDR is used when spontaneous healing hasn’t been taking place. Most bereaved people go through a cycle where feelings of failure, worthlessness, separation, and despair automatically arise after the death of a furry friend and these feelings are often worse when the death is traumatic. The majority of these individuals move through the various stages of healing on their own, without clinical assistance. Occasionally, an individual will not progress thru the steps. It’s at that point clinicians refer to the “information as being locked up or dysfunctional.”

A tool to catalyze appropriate rapid learning, EMDR helps to integrate what is useful from the traumatic event. Proper connections, emotions, insights will be made, and what’s useless is discarded.

When someone experiences trauma, it can get trapped in the psyche. This trapped trauma can cause continued disruption and distress and disruption long after the trauma occurs. As humans, we’re locked in a physiological cause and effect continuum. And if specific physical and emotional effects occur overwhelm our coping ability (trauma), we can act as a prison to our consciousness. That’s where we’re looking to EMDR to open the gates of the prison when those traumas occur.

EMDR’s Role

If you visit the ER with a broken arm, the doctor’s job is to correctly align the limb, so that healing can take place. The doctor’s role is to align the arm and allow the body to take care of the rest.

With EMDR, the processes are allowed to be aligned, which enables healing to occur.

Evidence-based therapy

An effective and highly recommended treatment for individuals struggling with trauma, EMDR has been accepted by multiple therapeutic organizations including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Veteran’s Administration.

A large body of controlled studies has supported the effectiveness of EMDR, including:

  • After just three 90-minute EMDR sessions, a 1997 study of sexual assault victims reported a 90% decrease in PTSD.
  • After an average of six 50-minute EMDR sessions, a 2004 study found that 77% of those with multiple traumas and 100% of those whose trauma sprang from a single source no longer had PTSD.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased confidence
  • Decreased panic and anxiety attacks
  • Decrease in intrusive thoughts
  • Increased feelings of well-being and calm
  • Decreased episodes of re-experienced trauma or flashbacks
  • Increased ability to participate in life
  • Decreased incidents of trauma interfering with current experience
  • Greater acceptance and understanding of past trauma

Courage to try new behaviors.

Seeking therapy can be a source of support, comfort, and even inspiration. Even if you have good support in your life, the loss of a pet can exhaust your energies and make you feel isolated. It may be hard to see beyond the current painful time, or imagine things can feel different.

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