The Mindfit blog

Cognitive therapy and EMDR

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Mindfit is inspired by cognitive therapy and EMDR, but also by the more general communication and therapy techniques used in psychology.

Regardless of the treatment approach, a patient’s first meeting with a psychologist includes time where the patient describes his or her problems, identifies goals and then works towards change. One of the central aspects of the work involved in bringing about change is finding the motivation you need to continue to try to change. This is especially important given that change takes time and usually consists of both progress and setbacks.

Maintaining motivation requires a focus on mastery and on what you actually achieve, a fact that is well recognized by many different therapies.

This is especially highlighted by research that has been done on positive psychology, where patients are encouraged to have a greater awareness of their strengths and resources rather than their vulnerability and illness.

Cognitive Therapy

The core of cognitive therapy is how our thought patterns affect our emotions and behavior.

Mental health problems or difficult phases of life may cause us to be affected by a steady stream of negative thoughts that can be difficult to escape from. This flow of thoughts can become entrenched as negative assumptions about one’s self or the world. People who find themselves in this situation believe that all information that confirms their negative assumptions is true, while positive information is disregarded.

Cognitive therapy tries to make the individual aware of these patterns of thought, by challenging the negative thought patterns and identifying positive alternative thoughts.

Cognitive therapy is a well-documented treatment for a variety of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A number of new therapies have been developed under the umbrella of cognitive therapy. Of particular interest is Meta Cognitive Therapy (MCT), where getting a patient to reduce worrying and brooding is seen as central to good mental health rather than focusing on the content of negative thoughts. Brooding here is defined as a form of prolonged, persistent negative thinking about one’s self. Worries are directed more towards future events and are anxiety related. MCT has been an inspiration for Mindfit’s approach of not letting negative thoughts and feelings take up too much space.

EMDR

EMDR has inspired us to become aware of how one can identify events that trigger physical discomfort, and which negative thoughts and feelings are associated with this discomfort, and where in the body the feeling is located.

 

EMDR has also shown us how the use of animals and symbols can be a good coping strategy. In EMDR, this is reinforced with bilateral stimulation, while in Mindfit we use visual symbols and focus on the good physical sensations these symbols awaken.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)!

øye-emdrEMDR is a psychotherapeutic method that helps to reduce the unpleasantness that can affect your everyday life if you have had traumatic experiences in the past. EMDR is also used to help people cope with anxiety and persistent grief, reactions to physical disease and many other conditions that are associated with strong emotions.

A key element of EMDR therapy is the use of different forms of bilateral (two-sided) stimulation through eye movements. The theory is that different forms of alternative bilateral stimulation engage both the right and left sides of the brain. This alternative stimulation and the dual focus of attention (on both the trauma and the stimulation) increases the pace of information processing.

Recent research has shown that eye movements lead to an immediate reduction of activation (anxiety). Making a person focus on both the trauma and external stimuli engages both side of the brain and overloads the working memory, which interrupts the process that makes memories entrenched.

The therapeutic effect of EMDR as a treatment method is well documented, and in 2013 the World Health Organization (WHO) put guidance in place where EMDR was recommended as one of the preferred methods for adults and children who have been exposed to trauma. You can read more about the guide here.

Below is an example of the light that is used to treat EMDR patients.


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If you need help from a psychologist,  you will find further information here.