PTSD Treatment with EMDR
This client case presents Sarah’s PTSD treatment with EMDR therapy.
Sarah, a 42-year-old mother of two, had suffered several traumatic events during her life, including a sexual assault when she was 18 and a miscarriage when she was 24. As a result of these events, along with the growing stress of her professional and marital life, her mental health deteriorated and interfered with her daily functioning.
Since her twenties, Sarah had been suffering from increasingly severe migraines four or five times a week. Her spouse worked long hours in the financial industry. She worked part-time, raising their two children and doing most of the work at home.
She sought help from a psychologist after being referred by her physician. Following the initial meeting, the psychologist provided her assessment. The symptoms revealed more than just anxiety or mood disorders, or chronic pain. She thought she had PTSD and suggested they work on her past trauma using EMDR therapy. According to the therapist, her nightmares, flashbacks, lack of enjoyment in life, difficulty relaxing, poor focus, depressive thoughts, and lack of trust were all symptoms of PTSD.
Therapy sessions began and the clinician worked to build a trusting therapeutic bond. After years of repressing her trauma, Sarah found it difficult to open up.
It was frightening and overwhelming at times for her to think about her memories. Though uncomfortable, she knew it was necessary. Sessions were often draining. Sometimes she felt angry and resentful when she went home, but she also noticed things gradually shifting and improving.
Sarah often reported a difficult couple of days with worsening symptoms following the sessions, but she also knew this was to be expected and part of the process as her brain continued the processing of traumatic memories.
By the end of the treatment, Sarah reported that her PTSD treatment with EMDR therapy had cleared most of her symptoms. She could now live her life without carrying the weight of these traumatic events any longer. EMDR did not change her traumatic past, but it helped her brain heal itself and process the symptomatic memories in a healthy manner.