What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach designed to work with distressing or traumatic memories. Many psychological difficulties are the result of distressing life experiences which are not properly stored in your memory. These experiences are said to be unprocessed or blocked and need additional support to become processed. EMDR is one way to accomplish that.
How does EMDR Work?
EMDR is an interactive therapeutic technique that helps alleviate psychological distress.
In a controlled environment, you work through traumatic experiences in brief intervals. Simultaneously your therapist directs your eye movements or administers bilateral tapping, diverting your attention to ensure you are not emotionally overwhelmed or overstimulated.
Doing so allows you to work through difficult experiences without a harmful response. Over time this technique minimizes the impact that traumatic memories have on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
EMDR & The Brain
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.
What can EMDR treat?
EMDR is a comprehensive approach and may be used to treat almost any symptom or disorder. Some of those include:
PTSD and Complex Trauma
Obsessions and Compulsions
Low Self Esteem