What is EMDR?
EMDR, which stands for ‘Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing’, is an evidence-based, trauma-focused psychotherapy that effectively addresses many mental health challenges, including:
EMDR is an integrative approach that utilizes the innate healing ability of the body and mind. It addresses three time periods: the past, present, and future. Generally, focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events. However, clients may also choose to concentrate on current situations that are causing suffering, or to develop the skills and attitudes required for positive future outcomes.
EMDR represents a highly structured approach which does not require talking in detail about the disturbing issue itself. Following thorough assessment and the development of a treatment plan, clients are encouraged to briefly focus on a targeted memory or event while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements).
Extensive research shows that bilateral (back and forth) stimulation reduces the intensity associated with specific recollections. Rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, EMDR is designed to resolve unprocessed and overwhelming impressions on the brain, thereby allowing the system to resume its natural restorative processes.
Can anyone benefit from EMDR?
EMDR can accelerate therapy by resolving the impact of distress on one’s current life, which grants clients the opportunity to live more fully in the present moment. One profound benefit of EMDR is that other associated memories often heal at the same time. This linking and neutralization of related experiences can lead to dramatic improvements across several aspects of one’s life.
However, EMDR is not appropriate for everyone. Clients must be aware of, and willing to move through, strong feelings and disturbing thoughts that sometimes occur during comprehensive treatment. Throughout the session, the therapist will support and facilitate the client’s own self-healing and intervene as little as possible.
Reprocessing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously, and new connections and insights are felt to arise quite instinctively from within. As a result, most people experience EMDR as being an organic and empowering medium of therapy.
Where can I learn more about EMDR?
For more information, please feel free to contact Heather directly or visit the EMDR International Association’s website.