The use of multi-sensory trauma processing to treatpost-traumatic stress disorder in law enforcement officers
Multi-sensory Trauma Processing (MTP) is a short-term treatment technique designed to deal with many common problems that arise in more long-term therapeutic interventions. Eyemovement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a critical element of this therapy; however, it varies in several ways from the standard EMDR protocol used in research. Referring to it as MTP helps to distinguish the more global approach of this therapy from that of EMDR. MTP uses the alternating stimulation that is the foundation of EMDR; however, MTP simultaneously uses three alternating stimulations consisting of alternating sounds and tapping, as well as eye movement. Although it is unclear exactly how this alternating stimulation creates positive change, there are two credible theories which seek to explain its efficacy. One is that stress hormones released during exposure to a traumatic incident cause the memory of the incident to become "frozen" or unprocessed in the right brain, particularly the hippocampus. This frozen memory apparently leads to the symptoms of PTSD. Alternating stimulation may enable both hemispheres of the brain to process the traumatic memory, moving it from being "stuck" to an appropriate memory of the past. Other theorists have noted the eye movement commonly used in EMDR is similar to the back-and-forth movement of eyes in REM sleep; one symptom of PTSD is disturbed REM sleep and a change in eye movement accompanying this type of sleep. By replicating what the brain does naturally in REM sleep, the natural ability of the brain to process a memory may be reactivated.
Original Work Citation
Davis, N. (2002). The use of multi-sensory trauma processing to treatpost-traumatic stress disorder in law enforcement officers. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Brief treatments for the traumatized: A project of the Green Cross Foundation (pp. 173-206).Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
“The use of multi-sensory trauma processing to treatpost-traumatic stress disorder in law enforcement officers,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 19, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17297.