Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of therapy that utilizes bilateral stimulation (BLS) usually in the form of eye movements, tapping or auditory tones in order to accelerate the brain’s capacity to process and heal a troubling memory, thought, feeling, or phobia. BLS stimulates the same eye movements which occur during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or dream sleep. BLS causes two parts of the brain to work in conjunction in order to reintegrate a memory. Some clients can experience relief or positive effects in just a few sessions and others need more sessions. EMDR is effective in treating trauma-related symptoms, whether the traumatic event occurred many years ago or yesterday.
Research has demonstrated that EMDR is effective for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress, phobias, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, stress, sexual and physical abuse, disturbing memories, complicated grief and chronic pain.
The possible benefits of EMDR treatment include the following:
The memory or event is remembered, but the painful emotions and physical sensations, disturbing images and thoughts are no longer present.
EMDR helps the brain reintegrate the memory or event and store it in a more appropriate place in the brain. The client’s own brain reintegrates the memory or event and does the healing.
The possible risks of EMDR treatment include the following:
Reprocessing a memory may bring up associated memories. The is normal and those memories will also be reprocessed.
During the EMDR, the client may experience physical sensations and retrieve images, emotions and sounds associated with the memory.
Reprocessing of the memory normally continues after the end of the formal therapy session. Other memories, flashbacks, feelings and sensations may occur. The client may have dreams associated with the memory. Frequently the brain is able to process these additional memories without help, but arrangements for assistance will be made in a timely manner if the client is unable to cope.