Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Therapy to help lighten the load and heal old wounds.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to relieve symptoms caused by disturbing and unresolved life experiences. The approach was developed by Francine Shapiro to resolve the development of trauma related disorders resulting from exposure to traumatic or distressing events such as rape and combat. Research has shown its effectiveness in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. It has also been used effectively in a variety of issues such as anxiety, grief and loss, stress management and vicarious trauma, and creating positive internal resources and performance enhancement skills.
Sometimes when people are experiencing distress and can’t find a way to fix it on their own they end up coming in for EMDR therapy. There are times that the brain is unable to integrate a disturbing event – leaving it frozen, unprocessed and isolated in the nervous system creating upsetting symptoms and issues that interfere with daily functioning. Physical sensations, emotions, thoughts, and images associated with the event can get locked into the brain, and without treatment, may lead to uncomfortable symptoms and behaviors.
EMDR is designed to help a person identify and process these stuck pieces so that the symptoms can decrease and one can feel more alive and less distressed. EMDR helps facilitate the activation of the brain’s instinctive system to process and integrate the information that got stored or stuck. People inherently move toward health and much like the physical healing process, the brain also knows how to heal on it’s own. EMDR stimulates that healing process, allowing a client to move through trauma more efficiently and rapidly than through talk therapy.
EMDR is unique in that it utilizes bilateral stimulation of the brain (either eye movements, tapping, pulsing, or sound) which is coupled with thoughts, visualized images, and body sensations. EMDR also uses dual attention awareness to move between the traumatic material and the current safety of the present moment. This dual awareness prevents re-traumatization from exposure to the traumatic material. The bilateral stimulation appears to decrease the vividness of negative emotions, sounds, and images associated with memories of disturbing events; increases cognitive flexibility; and allows the brain to resume normal information processing.