What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, an evidence based integrative psychotherapy that helps resolve traumatic and painful life patterns based on how memories are stored in the brain and body. It is based on a patient-therapist collaboration that focuses on releasing “trapped” emotional experiences and replaces them with peaceful, resolved feelings – providing lasting relief from emotional distress.
What does EMDR treat?
EMDR treats Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), phobias, low self esteem, performance anxiety, depression, anxiety, grief, insomnia, panic, procrastination, sexual abuse, childhood abuse, eating disorders, chronic pain and more.
How does EMDR work?
To date, no one knows exactly how any form of psychotherapy works in the brain or body. We do know that when a person is overwhelmed their brain/body will “freeze” that experience and may create a negative emotional response that gets “stuck” in the brain/body in the way of images, sounds, smells and body sensations. When disturbing life experiences “get stuck” in the nervous system they interfere with the way a person relates to their world and how they connect to people.
Based on what we now know about neuroscience and brain plasticity, it seems that EMDR sets up the brain to “re-wire,” and reconnect adaptive, positive neural pathways in the brain and release stress out of the body. This treatment approach targets maladaptively stored past traumatic memories, current triggers, and future potential challenges. Often, this results in reducing presenting symptoms, a decrease or elimination of distress from the disturbing memories, an increase in a positive sense of self, relief from body disturbances, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.
Additional Resources on EMDR: