What is EMDR?
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a form of psychotherapy that helps people heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are a result of disturbing life experiences. EMDR involves the use of eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation such as tapping). These eye movements are used during parts of the session after the clinician has helped the client explore memories that would benefit being targeted for further processing in the brain. The cliniican will ask the client to hold different aspects of the event or thought in their mind and use their eyes to track the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth across the client's field of vision. It is believed that eye movements are a powerful way to heal things in the brain similar to how REM (rapid eye movement) during sleep helps us heal and process the events of the day.
Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. More severe trauma survivors experience improvement in symptoms and no longer qualify for PTSD diagnosis after 6 to 12 sessions. Repeated studies show that EMDR therapy offers a way for people to experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense.
It has always been assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. If you have a wound, the body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and cuases pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain's information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. EMDR therapy trained clinicians can help clients activate their natural healing processes.
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