EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

The theory behind EMDR is based on the effects of how bi-lateral stimulation on the brain processes information.   As the therapist facilitates directional movement of the eyes while the client is focusing on a traumatic memory, the same releasing effect occurs as happens during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep when we are dreaming. Brain scans show that the same areas of the brain that are processing while we dream are processing during EMDR sessions.  This particular method of therapy is so effective at triggering emotions, it requires a trained, licensed professional to be present.  The disturbance is reduced and balance is found.

EMDR is helpful in addressing both serious and more common issues:
  • EMDR is a non-pharmaceutical remedy for immediate relief of anxiety, panic or long-term stress created from traumatic events.  When anxiety-triggering events shut you down with symptoms of restlessness, fear and confusion, talk therapy alone may take many years.   Depending on the issue, in some cases a few sessions of EMDR, amazingly, can make life feel like normal again.  It is the most recognized treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in many countries.
  • With the passage of time, EMDR has been used by clinicians who treat what are called little “t” traumas, those seemingly unhappy moments from the past that would not be considered traumatic by others, but are very traumatic to the individual.  Unfinished memories are “frozen in time” and become maintained by the emotional brain, creating blocks to logical thinking.  In some cases, self-destructive symptoms are created in order to avoid the unpleasant experiences of the past.
  • Symptoms of a person benefiting from EMDR are anxiety and depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, sleep disturbances, weight changes, distractibility, irritability, hypersensitivity to the slightest criticism, having a startle response, impatience, chronic pain disorders, and addictive tendencies.  Less noticeable symptoms would be a general belief that success won’t last and that life is hard. Very successful people can find themselves with these symptoms when a disturbing memory becomes triggered in some way.
  • EMDR is also effective in enhancing performance and used by athletes, performers, speakers and the like, to reduce unnecessary anxiety.

The amazing thing about EMDR is how it tracks the memories associated with a similar thought and gets to the root of an issue.  Done with the right degree of modulation and care, the client is not re-traumatized, but able to gradually view disturbing material in a new way.   Negative experiences can be unlearned and the assumptions that accompany them become transformed into positive thoughts and beliefs.  Clients have benefited significantly in much less time than with traditional therapy.

You can learn more about EMDR at www.emdr.com or www.emdrnews.com