What is EMDR therapy?
EMDR is a type of psychotherapy that involves the patient recalling past disturbing memories while focusing on subtle eye movements with the guidance of a specially trained therapist. This approach lessens trauma symptoms like emotional distress and mental blockages.
Although EMDR therapy is a fairly new treatment approach for post-traumatic stress disorder and other traumas, it has been extensively researched and endorsed by, among many established institutions, the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization.
How does EMDR therapy treat trauma?
EMDR therapy focuses on the patient’s past events; current issues that have arisen as a result of the trauma and resulting worldview and identity; and development of healthy skills for dealing with future actions and wellness. Generally, an individualized plan is formulated over eight sessions.
Researchers are not quite sure how EMDR therapy works on the brain, but evidence suggests that it changes the way your brain processes information. When a disturbing or very painful event happens to you, your body and mind can essentially get “stuck in time.”
The sounds, sights, and feelings you have during the traumatic occurrence can trigger intense fear, nightmares, and flashbacks. When you come across certain emotions and senses associated with that event again, your body responds in much the same way that it did the first time the trauma occurred.
With EMDR therapy, your brain learns to reprocess and store the information more appropriately so that you are no longer “frozen” in the event.