Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic technique that utilizes a characteristic motion of the eyes in conjunction with therapeutic guidance to bring about emotional healing, sometimes at an accelerated rate. Although not part of the original EMDR teachings, clinical experiences have repeatedly demonstrated that EMDR also helps accelerate the physical healing process.
What is the history of EMDR?
EMDR has been used by trained mental health professionals since 1989. Its originator, Francine Shapiro PhD, discovered that moving her eyes in certain directions reduced emotional tension. Francine did further investigation into this phenomenon making EMDR the subject of her doctoral thesis in 1987. Integrating her clinical experience, Francine has formulated a unique method which she calls EMDR.
Who can benefit from EMDR?
Anyone who has ever experienced an upset that they have not recovered from. Often these people have one or more of the following symptoms in varying degrees: feeling “stuck”, excess stress/tension, depression, anxiety, restlessness, sleep trouble, fatigue, appetite disturbances, and ongoing physical health concerns despite treatment. In the more severe cases: panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, obsessions, compulsions, eating disorder, and suicidal tendencies.
On the physical health front, EMDR is also a wonderful technque to assist with the healing of any physical health concern.
How does EMDR treatment work?
When an upset is experienced, it can become locked in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. This upset is stored in the brain (and also the body) in an isolated memory network preventing learning from taking place. Old material just keeps getting triggered over & over again and you end up feeling “stuck” emotionally. In another part of your brain, in a separate network, is most of the information you need to resolve the upset. It’s just prevented from linking up to the old stuff. Once processing starts with EMDR, the 2 networks can link up. New information can then come to mind to resolve the old problems.