EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.*

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.*

Is EMDR Right for Me?

EMDR was recently recommended by the World Health Organization for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and there is strong evidence that EMDR has helped people all over the world with a range of other issues, including depression, anxiety, grief and loss, fears and phobias, self-esteem, relationship injuries, and even performance enhancement for sports and career. If you suspect that negative events from the past are casting a shadow over your current reactions and relationships, or if you feel like something is holding you back from becoming your best self, EMDR could be a life-changing experience.

*Excerpts from EMDR International Association www.emdria.org