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EMDR vs. CBT for PTSD: Which Therapy Works Best?


PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, can have a huge negative impact on ones life, but there are ways to help you feel better. In this blog post, we'll explore two therapies (CBT Vs EMDR) that can make a real difference: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). We'll break them down, see how they work, and help you figure out which one might be the right fit for you.

1. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing):

EMDR is all about dealing with traumatic memories and the dificult feelings that come with them. Here's what you need to know:

a. What EMDR Does: EMDR uses techniques like eye movements, taps, or sounds to help you deal with those difficult memories. It's like hitting the "reprocess" button on your brain, which can reduce your symptoms.

b. The Memory Fixer: EMDR is based on the idea that your PTSD symptoms happen because your brain didn't finish processing the memories. By working on these memories, EMDR helps you reduce distress and helps you in being able to move forward from the traumatic event.

c. Three-Step Plan: EMDR helps tackle the past, the things bothering you now, and the good things you want in the future. It's like fixing the root causes of your PTSD so you can feel better for good.

d. How It Works: EMDR uses eye movements or tapping/sounds to help you process those tough memories. It's like taking the distress/hurt out of them, so they don't bother you as much.

2. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy):

CBT is a popular therapy that looks at how your thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected. Here's what's special about CBT for PTSD:

a. Fixing Your Thoughts: CBT helps you spot and change negative thoughts tied to your trauma. By replacing them with more balanced thoughts, CBT aims to ease your distress and help you cope better.

b. Taking It Slow: CBT includes a part called "exposure therapy," where you face the trauma memories little by little. This controlled exposure allows for the processing and habituation of distressing memories, leading to symptom reduction.

c. Building Skills: CBT gives you tools to deal with your symptoms and make life better. For example, you may be taught how to relax, deal with stress, solve problems, and be more assertive.

d. Team Effort: In CBT, you and your therapist work together as a team. They help you set goals and come up with ways to get better. It's all about you taking an active role in feeling good again.

3. What Works Best for You:

Both EMDR and CBT can help with PTSD, but which one is right for you depends on your preferences and needs:

a. EMDR is great for reducing intrusive memories and emotional pain. It's a top choice if you've been through trauma and other therapies haven't helped. EMDR sessions also usually incorporate some CBT interventions.

b. CBT is like a toolbox that can work on all sorts of mental health problems, including PTSD. It's good if you have different kinds of symptoms.

c. The Right Fit: Your choice might also come down to what feels best for you and how experienced your therapist is in the type of therapy.

Read our blog post on why EMDR might feel easier for you

We offer CBT and EMDR. Get in touch for a free consultation.


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