Depression and EMDR


Depression is notoriously difficult to treat, whether through therapy or psychiatric medication. EMDR offers some new and promising methods for overcoming difficulties.

While EMDR was designed for the treatment of trauma, and in published studies, success rates for eliminating PTSD range from 70%-90%. This is almost miraculous. However, it was additionally been noted in one study that for participants who also had a depression diagnosis, EMDR treatment was more effective than Prozac.

Now think about that--EMDR was superior to Prozac even when depression was not the target of treatment.

Since that discovery, innovators in the field have developed EMDR-based methods of dealing specifically with depression. It's not too far of a leap: trauma victims are stuck, folks with depression are stuck. Depression tells the same lie, that "if it doesn't hurt, it's not real."

Let me take an example from when I teach simple relaxation techniques. Depressed clients, like trauma clients--far from being able to believe that actual relaxation is possible--have difficulty even imagining a calm place without automatically inserting some sort of sadness. EMDR addresses these lies, but unlike traditional therapy, EMDR does not rely on insight, logic, or willpower to do so.

With EMDR, a depressed client is simply asked to "just let what happens, happen." This is a breath of fresh air for clients who feel like they have been "fighting" for years.