(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an 8 phase treatment approach to help alleviate symptoms related to trauma and/or adverse life experiences. Trauma gets stored in your body and can manifest in excessive ways . EMDR desensitizes the past events, body sensations and negative thoughts and works to instill more adaptive and healthy ones. EMDR works best with trauma, PTSD and anxiety to help resolve symptoms, change negative beliefs and break up patterns we can become stuck in. The goal of EMDR is to reduce how “heavy” memories feel and how distressing they are. EMDR is also very helpful in alleviating anxiety and panic attacks.
How does EMDR work?
When Adverse Life experiences occurs, information processing may be interrupted or incomplete. Your brain goes into survival mode so it can not think clearly. This prevents healthy and adaptive memory networks from forming. So, when the individual thinks about the trauma, or when the memory is triggered by similar situations, the person may feel like they are “reliving it”, i.e., experiencing strong emotions and physical sensations that push into present experiences.
An example is the intrusive thoughts, emotional disturbance, and negative self-referencing beliefs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By targeting these trauma memory networks with EMDR therapy, the brain re-processes the previously dysfunctionally stored information and links it to other, more adaptive information. This process helps release and discard all unhealthy perceptions, emotions, and sensations to tend to want to hang around.