Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
What is EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is considered one of the most effective treatments for trauma, and is both evidence and research-based. It is often the treatment of choice for clearing the emotional charge of painful experiences and memories, and has been used successfully to treat depression, anxiety, fears and phobias. Other issues we can use EMDR with include:
"EMDR is the fastest, most gentlest way to process past trauma."
When something traumatic happens, your mind may continue to hold onto the troubling memories, sounds, feelings, sensations, or thoughts. It may feel like the trauma is locked or “stuck” inside and it can be triggered by different situations that you encounter that may or may not seem connected.
At times you may feel helpless because you are not able to control what is happening in your mind or your body; this is because you are re-experiencing the emotions and sensations that are connected with the old experience. EMDR helps to reprocess the trauma so that the negative thoughts and feelings are reduced.
How Does EMDR Therapy Help?
As you begin EMDR, we help prepare you by teaching coping skills so that you learn how to contain disturbing thoughts and ground yourself so you're not distressed after EMDR sessions. EMDR helps facilitate the activation of the brain's inherent ability to process and integrate traumatic information that is "stuck". This happens through bilateral stimulation, which similar to REM sleep, helps the right and left hemispheres of the brain to process and integrate the difficult experiences. Some examples of bilateral stimulation include facilitated tapping, eye movements, tactile or auditory stimulation.
During EMDR, you will identify and process "stuck" memories so that distressing symptoms decrease and you can feel more alive and in control of your emotions instead of re-living difficult past experiences that seem to take over at times. EMDR will not erase any memories; rather you will have more control over how often you think of the memories and be able to think about what happened to you without the emotional charge that was distressing before the treatment.
For more information and research on this, please visit the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) website.