Many people who have lived through traumatic experiences and struggled in the aftermath found relief from EMDR. However, EMDR isn’t just useful for people who are trying to process a traumatic experience or those who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. It can also be beneficial for people who suffer from depression.

While some people deal with clinical depression that seems to have no obvious, discernible cause, others grapple with depression that stems from adverse experiences in their lives. If this is the case, EMDR can be immensely helpful. Here’s why EMDR can be the right approach to therapy for people with depression.

Trauma and Depression

For some people, depression appears to come out of nowhere. Their depression may have any identifiable cause, and it could stem from environmental or genetic factors. But for others, depression arises out of traumatic circumstances. If this is the case, lifestyle changes, talk therapy, or medication may not provide true solutions on their own.

Instead, a form of therapy like EMDR that actively addresses trauma might be the more appropriate course of treatment. In order to heal from depression that is linked to trauma, the trauma itself must be processed.

Depression and Grief

Depression is often connected to grief. Although many people do not think of grief as a form of trauma, it absolutely can be. Maybe you lost someone you loved unexpectedly, or perhaps you survived a natural disaster or another experience that could have been fatal. No matter the circumstances, grief and trauma can definitely go hand in hand, and our culture often pushes people to “rush” through grief and act as though they’re “better” immediately.

This only serves to exacerbate the trauma. In EMDR, individuals have the opportunity to work through this grief and the accompanying trauma at their own pace in a safe environment.

Negative Beliefs Resulting from Trauma

Trauma can leave an individual with persistent, negative beliefs that contribute to their depression. A trauma survivor might tell themselves that they are weak, unworthy of love, or hopeless. Carrying these beliefs within you can feed into depression. In EMDR, you’ll work on identifying the specific beliefs that stem from your trauma, as well as rewriting these thought patterns with new core beliefs that better serve you.

How EMDR Helps

Why is EMDR often an effective treatment for depression? EMDR does not force you to go into detail about every traumatic thing that has happened to you. Instead, you’ll work with your therapist to target specific memories that cause you pain and focus on identifying how these memories cause physical sensations in your body during sessions.

You’ll be able to process these sensations and gradually build associations between these memories and new, positive beliefs about yourself. Furthermore, depression can be situated in your physical body. Because EMDR prompts you to process the physical effects of lingering trauma, you can find some relief from your physical symptoms.

EMDR and Lifestyle Changes for Depression

EMDR can also change your life for the better outside of therapy sessions. Your therapist will not just send you home after a session without equipping you with techniques you can use to self-soothe outside of their office. For example, they might encourage you to journal about your feelings or practice specific grounding techniques. You may find yourself turning to other healthy habits to decompress after sessions, such as going for walks in your neighborhood.

Are you interested in seeking EMDR therapy for depression? Talking to a therapist can help you decide if this approach is right for you. Reach out to us to learn more about EMDR therapy for depression.



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