Eye Movement Desensitisation & reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. It is an effective treatment for trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR was originally developed to treat the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and phobias.
It is not entirely known how any form of psychotherapy works in the brain but we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. The goal of reprocessing is to sort out the emotions attached to disturbing experiences. When normal information processing is resumed, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind -you still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
What kinds of problems can EMDR treat?
- Panic attacks
- Complicated grief
- Disturbing memories
- Pain disorders
EMDR can help by:
- improving the quality and enjoyment of one’s life
- reducing/resolving intrusive experiences such as flashbacks, nightmares, obsessive thoughts/worries
- reduce physical pain symptoms
- providing a treatment option for experiences that are particularly distressing to explain or describe