What is EMDR therapy?
EMDR is a groundbreaking psychotherapeutic technique involving bilateral stimulation of the brain, generally through eye movements much like those occurring naturally during dream or REM sleep. EMDR ‘targets’ upsetting emotional events to allow their reprocessing such that they are no longer as painful nor as disruptive to client’s lives. It is often a wonderful surprise to uncover the reasons why certain circumstances are unsettling to us and to often be, completely and permanently, relieved of them. Studies indicate that EMDR is effective in over 90% of the general populace. What does EMDR stand for?
Eye Movement- It appears that the beneficial effects are facilitated by the alternating stimulation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Eye movements accomplish this, as do bilateral alternating taps or tones. Desensitization- Refers to the removal of the emotional disturbance associated with a traumatic memory. Reprocessing- refers to the replacement of the unhealthy, negative beliefs associated with traumatic memories, with more healthy positive beliefs.
EMDR is a procedure that is used in psychotherapy to help you reduce the impact of experiences from the past that intrudes on your everyday life. Usually these experiences from the past involve a significant incident- can be defined as a trauma- such as an assault, abuse, accident, or natural disaster to name a few.
Since the first published EMDR research study done by its developer, Dr. Shapiro in 1989, EMDR has continued to evolve to include contributions made by world therapists and researchers, and to incorporate key elements of multiple psychotherapeutic approaches. Thus far, EMDR has helped approximately 2 million clients find relief from a great variety of psychological distresses.
How does it work?
EMDR is useful in treating the two types of trauma; Capital “T” traumas and little “t” traumas. Big “T” traumas are considered very disturbing events such as being a victim of a serious crime, military combat, sexual assault, or having the experience of losing a loved one such as a spouse, a parent or a child. Little “t” traumas are the smaller everyday chronic upsets, such as daily negative childhood messages or abuse, which can lead to the formation of unhealthy self-concepts and low self-esteem. For example, a child may grow up believing that they are not good enough, that they are unlovable, or that they are truly all alone- all very painful self-concepts. Naturally, with such unhealthy beliefs, a person’s life may have added challenges in all of its aspects, especially evident in our relationships with others.
It seems that the mind can heal itself naturally in the same way as the body does. EMDR can be approached through eye movements as well as gentle tapping, or sounds from ear to ear. The key is to alternate stimulation between the two sides of the brain.