Much of what has traditionally been done in therapy is to address the symptoms and reactions a person has to an event or series of events.
Biofeedback address a number of the physiological reactions people have and help them to learn to reregulate those reactions, which is a very helpful skill to have.
In exposure therapy the idea is to expose the person to the thing that they fear in small doses until they can learn to be in the presence of the feared object and no longer causes extreme anxiety, panic or fear. Often this involves relaxation training, which is teaching the person skills to help them relax, which they then use during their exposure sessions.
And again, this is all good stuff to learn, but it does not get to the root or the cause of the problem. And this is one of the reasons that I am such a proponent of EMDR therapy. In EMDR therapy, we use the person’s reactions to an event, such as their feelings, body sensations and beliefs about themselves, to activate the neural network associated with that memory.
As we bring up the memory it is available for modification. It is also available to link up with more adaptive information, such as the fact that the event is over, the person survived, etc. This means that when the memory gets put back into storage it has been changed. Brain scans have proven that EMDR therapy changes the brain. How amazing is that?