Somatic Experiencing Therapy vs EMDR Therapy: Similarities and Differences?
Are you considering somatic experiencing therapy or EMDR therapy for your mental health? It can be difficult to decide which treatment option is best for you, so it is important to understand the similarities and differences between these two approaches. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of somatic experiencing and EMDR therapy, and compare the two modalities so that you can make an informed decision about which is right for you. In speaking with Recovery Ways Director of Somatic Experiencing Camille Drachman about understanding the role for these types of therapies, Camille noted the profound discovery that “The nervous system can become injured or wounded just like any part of the body.” Somatic Experiencing and EMDR have been shown to help heal injured nervous systems.
What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?
Somatic Experiencing Therapy (SET) is an integrative therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Peter Levine, a pioneer in the field of trauma therapy. SET focuses on the body-mind connection and how feelings and experiences become embedded in the physical body. It is a powerful and effective tool for healing from psychological and physical trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, addiction, and many other mental health issues.
SET is based on the belief that unresolved trauma can cause lasting physical and emotional pain. Through a variety of techniques, such as guided breathing, body awareness, and mindfulness, SET helps people to access and process their suppressed feelings and move through the healing process. It teaches the body to “release” its frozen trauma energy, allowing for deep and lasting healing. SET also helps to restore balance to the nervous system, allowing people to cope better with stressful events and emotions.
What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique that has been used to treat mental health issues since the 1990s. It is based on the idea that traumatic memories can be reprocessed, allowing people to move forward with their lives in a healthier and more positive way. EMDR works by stimulating the brain’s natural healing processes. During treatment, a therapist will guide the client through recalling painful memories while engaging in a set of eye movements or other forms of rhythmic stimulation. This is done in order to access stored information related to the memory and process it so it no longer causes distress. It can be an effective tool for dealing with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, panic attacks, phobias, and more.
Similarities Between the Two Therapies
Both somatic experiencing therapy and EMDR therapy are evidence-based practices used to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Both therapies are focused on helping the client to gain insight into their feelings and emotions and the way they experience them in their body. Through this process, both forms of therapy aim to help the client to gain a greater understanding of themselves and the experiences they’ve been through, as well as to learn coping skills to better manage their mental health.
Additionally, both therapies have an emphasis on developing awareness of the body and its sensations in order to better understand how emotions and trauma are stored within it. Somatic experiencing and EMDR both involve physical activities such as grounding techniques, mindfulness exercises, and body scans in order to reduce the intensity of symptoms and enhance emotional regulation. Furthermore, both therapies are designed to be short-term treatments that help the client to quickly overcome their mental health issues so that they can return to their daily life.
Differences Between the Two Therapies
When it comes to mental health treatments, there are a variety of options available. Two popular therapies that have been used to effectively treat trauma and stress-related disorders are Somatic Experiencing Therapy (SET) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). While these two treatments have similarities, they also have differences which should be considered when determining which type of therapy may be best for you.
The most prominent difference between SET and EMDR is the length of the treatment sessions. With SET, the goal is to focus on resolving one specific issue during each session, so the sessions are typically shorter in duration. On the other hand, EMDR focuses on several issues simultaneously, so each session can last up to two hours.
SET and EMDR also differ in how they approach the patient’s mental health issues. SET focuses on the patient’s bodily sensations and emotions, while EMDR focuses on the patient’s thoughts and beliefs. SET is based on the idea that unresolved physical sensations and emotions can be processed and released through gradual exposure and understanding. EMDR, on the other hand, uses bilateral stimulation in order to shift negative thought patterns and behaviors.
Another difference between the two therapies is that SET is a less directive approach. The therapist works together with the patient to explore what is being experienced in the body and to gradually move towards resolution. EMDR is a more directive approach, where the therapist provides instruction to the patient regarding what needs to be done in order to process the memories and feelings related to the trauma or stress disorder.
Finally, SET is a much slower process than EMDR. This can be beneficial for some patients who need more time to explore their experiences in order to make sense of them. For others who need more immediate results, EMDR can be more effective due to its quicker pace.
When it comes to choosing between Somatic Experiencing Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing for your mental health treatment, it’s important to consider all of the differences outlined above. Depending on your individual needs and goals, one approach may be more suitable than the other. It’s always best to consult with a professional to determine which type of therapy will be most beneficial for you.
Which Therapy is Right for You?
Choosing between Somatic Experiencing Therapy and EMDR Therapy can be a difficult decision, especially when you are trying to decide which type of therapy is right for your specific needs. Both therapies have been effective in treating various mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. To help you make an informed decision, it is important to consider both the similarities and differences between the two therapies.
When choosing between Somatic Experiencing Therapy and EMDR Therapy, it is important to assess your individual needs and preferences. Somatic Experiencing Therapy is a body-focused approach that focuses on helping clients become more aware of their physical sensations and process the emotions associated with them. This type of therapy can be particularly beneficial for people who are looking for a slower paced approach that emphasizes self-reflection and exploration. On the other hand, EMDR Therapy is a more direct approach that relies on rapid eye movements to help people reprocess traumatic memories and experiences. This type of therapy may be better suited for people who are looking for a more immediate solution to their mental health issues.
Ultimately, it is important to find the therapy that best fits your individual needs and goals. Talking to a licensed mental health professional can help you determine which type of therapy is right for you. They will be able to provide insight into the different approaches and help you choose a therapy that will work best for your particular situation. At Recovery Ways, we offer opportunities to experience groups and therapies based upon these modalities in our primary mental health program as well as in our substance use disorder dual program and our IOP.
If you or someone you love is in need of mental health healing, we can help. Recovery Ways offer primary mental health programming as well as a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.