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 has helped an estimated two million people of
all ages relieve many types of psychological stress: trauma, anxiety,
depression, anger management and many more.
How does EMDR 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.