What is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)?

Posted on July 5, 2018 by JoAnne

EMDR is a powerful new method of psychotherapy founded in l988. When a trauma occurs, it seems to get locked in the nervous system, with the original image, sounds, smells, thoughts and feelings. These images, sounds, smells, thoughts and feelings can be triggered unexpectedly by our environment, even years after the original trauma, and the individual will re-experience the trauma, almost as if it were happening again in the present. EMDR seems to “unlock” the frozen nature of the original trauma, allowing the brain to process the original event in a more adaptive manner. Traumatic events may range all the way from minor surgery, being repeatedly bullied, abandonment, sexual and physical assault (childhood or adulthood), witnessing violence, war experiences, or murder.

EMDR incorporates eye movement or some other type of bi-lateral stimulation (e.g., an alternating tone heard through ear-phones, or rhythmic tapping gently on hands) to unlock these stored memories from their frozen state to a place in our memory recall where it no longer “triggers” a fearful reaction for the individual.

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