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What is EMDR?
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a relatively new therapy. It is recommended for people who have experienced trauma in their past and are currently experiencing negative emotions and symptoms associated with that event.
The approach believes that emotionally charged memories can overly influence your present emotions and thoughts about yourself. If you have suffered from trauma, you may develop negative beliefs or thoughts about yourself. EMDR helps you make those traumatic memories or disturbing experiences turn into more adaptive beliefs.
When our bodies experience trauma, certain thoughts or memories may get “stuck” in our brain. This therapy works by simulating the same eye movements found in our REM sleep cycle. It helps unwanted memories become properly processed. EMDR helps update those unwanted memories.
What happens during a typical EMDR session?
Unlike talk therapy, EMDR work is done inside your brain. You are always in control of your thoughts. You don’t even have to explain any details of the trauma to the EMDR therapist.
An EMDR therapist will utilize a set of procedures called “bilateral stimulation” to organize your negative and positive feelings, emotions and thoughts. If you are doing talk therapy, your current therapist can work together with your EMDR specialist. EMDR is considered brief therapy and is an additional tool available to you.
Research about the effects of EMDR can be found on the EMDRIA website (www.emdria.org). EMDR has been one of the most effective treatments for reducing symptoms of PTSD and recommended by The Department of Veterans Affairs & the Department of Defense.
EMDR is also effective with children, victims of sexual assault, panic disorders, anxiety, psychotic disorders, depression, and grief among others.