After Flooding Emotional Wake Continues – EMDR Can Help You Recover Faster

Natural disasters strike without any kind of warning. With them they most usually carry not only massive material damage – making the occurrence of such a costly affair on both a personal and global level. Another aspect of damage exists, it is that of the psychological trauma that being exposed to the violent outlets of nature brings along with it. Most commonly a victim of a natural disaster will be facing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) at some point in the period of time after the natural disaster. This is the same kind of psychological ailment that many soldiers suffer after returning from service in a warzone. The symptoms include but does not limit to: Depression, withdrawal, sudden aggression and amnesia.  For a person to handle Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom, professional help is strongly recommended – to ensure that the individual in this unpleasant situation will be able to return to a normal state of living within a foreseeable amount of time.

The treatments on offer in the field of treating Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome are many and diverse. Ranging from alternative, undocumented methods of treatment to state sponsored psychiatrist treatments – the results of the different treatment options range from non existent to outstanding.

EMDR Evidenced Based Approach

One of the most successful forms of treatment has proven to be the one called the “EMDR” treatment, short of “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing”. It is a treatment that takes place in several different phases – all of which are taking their starting points in the initial phase where the reasons for the psychological stress disorder of the patient is unveiled in a series of analysis session between patient and therapist. Once the key areas of the problem have been uncovered, the treatment itself can begin. A quite uncommon feature of this particular treatment is when compared to for instance traditional psychotherapy , that the patient does not necessarily have to face the painful memories in each session – this is absolutely the free choice of the patient.. The therapist will schedule an individual treatment plan for the patient based on the information.

A short description of the treatment itself can be a bit difficult to provide – and it is strongly advised to seek further information with the therapist to make sure all your questions are cleared before initiating the treatment. Nonetheless, here are a few of the key elements of the EMDR treatment for patients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome:  A series of therapist guided eye movement exercises where the patterns of movement have been carefully planned by the therapist prior to the session the help the patient reach the point where the SUD Scale of the comes as close to zero as possible. The next phase is to focus on positive change in the mindset of the patient as opposed to focusing on the psychological trauma caused by for instance a natural disaster.

Studies have shown, that the EMDR treatment method is an incredibly efficient method in helping patients with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome regain control of their emotions and hence return to a normal standard of life.

Using EMDR to Treat Symptoms of Trauma from Climbing Accidents

Summary: The following article pertains to using EMDR to treat trauma related to sports accidents, specifically climbing.

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Discovered by Francine Shapiro in 1989, this is a treat for trauma or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This type of treatment can be used for traumas related to sports accidents or competitive upsetting experiences, anxiety, life changing events such as divorce, rape, sexual abuse, car accidents and more.

Process of EMDR in Treating Trauma

EMDR treat works by using bursts of 20-40 second rapid and saccadic eye movements. Those using this form of therapy on patients will have them visually track a light which moves from left to right. The idea behind this form of therapy is that it makes the brain process information in the same way as rapid eye movement. Shapiro believes this process helps those with trauma cope with the memories in a more positive or coping light.

EMDR Treatment for a Climbing Accident ( Sports Trauma)

Here’s an example of how EMDR might help treat an advanced climber who has experienced a climbing accident: A man was climbing with another climber when he fell. He had set up anchors along his climbing route but he had lost his footing. The highest set anchor came loose with the force of the fall. Unfortunately, there was too much rope out for the lower anchor to catch him.

The climber could experience a series of emotions including anxiety and panic. He might relive the upsetting experience if he tries to climb again, assuming a full physical recovery. He might ask himself, “What did I do wrong?” or Why did I miss my footing?” He would be asked to rate the SUDS, an acronym for Subjective Units of Distress Scale. The scale ranges from 0 (no disturbance) to 10 (highest disturbance). Heart rate would also be recorded. At the first EMDR session, the climber might rate the SUDS at a 7, with heart rate at 110. This indicates high anxiety and maybe a sense of pain physically in the stomach. After the third EMD session, the climber might rate the SUDS at 4, with heart rate at 70. This would indicate an improvement in possible perception of the traumatic experience when falling.

Another measurement used during this procedure is VOC, Validity of Cognition Scale. This is a measurement of self-perception or a person’s positive coping self-belief in connection with the traumatic experience. It’s rated on a 7 point scale where 1 is completely false and 7 is completely true. For instance, our climber might say “I did everything I could to stay safe while climbing”. His VOC at his first EMDR session might be a 5 and after session three it could be bumped up to a 6.

Some sports might have a team psychotherapist on hand for help during traumatic experiences. If an athlete chooses to deal with stress on their own, they might try EMDR to see if that is an effective treatment for them. 

EMDR and sport performance the process of recovery from sports accidents

EMDR: Helping Athletes

Patients who have suffered from sport traumas or injuries can highly benefit from EMDR (stands for: Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). EMDR is a therapy that doesn’t involve the usage of the drugs or hypnosis. One of the best things about it is that it is patient-therapist collaboration (non-invasive).

EMDR Explained

This is an influential new psychotherapy technique that has been a great success for people who have suffered from various conditions such as panic, anxiety, disturbing memories, sports injuries and traumas, etc. We are all aware that such conditions are difficult and lengthy to treat, which is why Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is considered to be a penetration therapy as it is very simple yet provides lasting relief.

This technique utilizes the natural task of the body and its basis is the REM or the Rapid Eye Movement. Our minds make use of REM while sleeping as it helps in processing daily experiences in our lives that have impacted us emotionally. When there is extreme trauma, the whole process breaks down and then REM sleep doesn’t provide the usual relief that a person gets and when this happens, EMDR comes in the picture.

Process of EMDR Treatment for Athletes

In order to gain an understanding on how EMDR can be helpful for sports trauma and injuries, it is very important that you understand how it works. For example, when a trauma is acquired through sports, the experience is stored in the brain. When an individual is upset, his brain can’t process the experience because it would on a normal level. Hence, the negative feelings and thoughts get bottled up in the nervous system.

With EMDR, it will first unlock all the negative memories and feelings that got trapped in the nervous system and then, it will help the brain process the experience in a successful way. A professional therapist can do this by guiding the patient to visit the traumatic incident once again. The moment that the eye movement of the patient matches the painful event as well as the body movement, it means that the memory is now in the mind of the patient but the feelings will be re-experienced in a new way.

Through this, EMDR allows the patient to acquire self-knowledge and perspective that will allow him to choose his actions instead of feeling helpless over their re-actions.

EMDR in Treating Sports Accidents or Performance Issues

EMDR finds the trauma and allows the patient to discover and heal the parallels between the traumatic events and his performance issues in the present and it will then release the negative images and emotions, letting go of trauma and allowing the athlete to perform well again in the sport that he plays.

A lot of athletes have proven that EMDR is exceptionally effective. Since athletes can’t totally avoid sports injuries that can decrease their sports performance and even put their health at risk, they are at ease knowing that EMDR therapy is available for them. It is a great way to recover as it lets go of the negativity that were acquired due to the traumatic events. 




EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an integrative psychotherapy that has been researched and proven to be alleviate symptoms related to various life disturbing experiences or traumas. Some of these experiences that may cause trauma to individuals are rape, sexual abuse, auto accidents and combat. In instances when people have had disturbing events in their lives like divorce, life transitions, grief, anxiety and the usual stresses of life, EMDR is known to provide relief. Naturally, human beings go through so many experiences, some being too hard to comprehend. When faced with these situations, many people experience trauma since life threatening encounters can get edged in the memory, creating very uncomfortable symptoms. In the event that these signs are not treated, they may be distressing.


EMDR Supports Your Recovery of Natural Brilliance


People go for EMDR treatment, seeking to identify a process that can decrease these traumatic symptoms and make one feel more alive and less distressed. It does this by activating the brains inherent system to process and integrate the information that is stored there. It does not do away with the information stored within the brain or delete the event from the memory, rather, it reduces the emotional charge that accompanies the distressing episode.


EMDR Used To Alleviate Sports Injury Residual Symptoms


Many swimming athletes who had a good future in the sport, had to give it all up after some nasty episodes in their lives. But there is hope for them as well with EMDR. For those swimmers who approach any competition with increased anxiety, there is a remedy for this apprehension. EMDR is performed to aid in reprocessing an upsetting swimming event. Their coping beliefs are measured and anxiety levels checked prior to and after the events. Positive visualization is part of EMDR and used to prepare and intervene any potential inhibiting negative expectations.


EMDR Supports Performance Recovery: Case Example


An example of an athlete having a traumatic experience in swimming is this: She hit her head on a wall after which she sunk to the bottom of the swimming pool. She gulped lots of water and for a moment, she knew she would die. This nasty experience gave her a rough time whenever she had to swim. During EMDR, she had to recount the event almost as though she was going through it all over again. Physical, psychological and emotional feelings were relieved in her mind’s eye. This allowed her to reprocess the event and resolve some of the conflicts in a more adaptive style.


EMDR For Those with Sporting Accident Histories


The same applies to other games like skiing, mountain climbing, snowboarding and mountain biking. They too, have caused performers to have injuries that took time to heal. After going through a nasty experience like an injury or a failure contrary to expectation, EMDR therapy can be a solution. It helps a performer to regain a competitive edge and remove mental barriers that may prevent an athlete from achieving their objective. It helps one by putting the negative thoughts behind before a competition so that they can focus on the goal ahead of them.