EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing which was devised by Francine Shapiro in 1989. It is a form of Psychotherapy developed to resolve the development of trauma-related disorders caused by exposure to distressing events.
It helps client’s free blocked emotional energy so they can move toward healing and peace.
Reports show that it has been highly effective in treating clients who struggle with the impacts of day to day stresses or minor traumas. It is most effective in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for those who have experienced extremely traumatic situations. These include victims of crime, police officers who have retained intrusive memories from violent crimes; people who have been raped, witnessed a murder or have been assaulted or those involved in natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes or earthquakes.
EMDR can help people who are experiencing phobias, anxiety attacks, panic disorders, accident or burn victims and people who have experienced the devastating loss of their homes or loved ones (due to fire, divorce, or death). It has likewise been successfully used to treat chemically dependent clients.
EMDR also has a high level of success in treating depression, performance anxiety, constant brooding or worrying, low self-esteem, anger and rage, relationship problems, sleep problems, illness, or injury.
During treatment, the therapist gently asks the client to revisit the traumatic memories and recall the feelings and thoughts that accompanied them. EMDR releases these emotional experiences that are trapped in the nervous system by repeatedly activating opposite sides of the brain. This is accomplished through bilateral stimulation, tactile stimulation, or right/left eye movement. EMDR helps create the connections between your brain’s memory networks, enabling your brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way.
Some experts have noted that the eye movements involved in EMDR might be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It may be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that allows a person to see material in a new and less distressing way. Others believe it reactivates parts of the brain that were “shut down” as a coping mechanism. In this way cognitive reorganizing takes place, allowing the negative, painful emotions to give way to more resolved, empowered feelings.