What is EMDR?

    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful psychotherapy technique which has been successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post-traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies.
    When something traumatic happens, the experience gets locked in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and even physical sensations. Since the experience is locked in there, it is automatically triggered whenever a reminder comes up. The EMDR therapy uses bilateral eye movement (and in some cases, auditory or tactile stimulation), to activate the opposite sides of the brain, thereby releasing emotional experiences that are “trapped” in the nervous system. In other words, the eye movements in EMDR appear to unlock the nervous system and allow your brain to process the experience. This “unlocking” mechanism may be similar to the processing of unconscious material that occurs during REM or dream sleep.
    But how does reprocessing lead to healing? Disturbing events are stored in the brain in an isolated memory network. In another part of your brain, in a separate network, is most of the information you need to resolve it. Once you start processing with EMDR, the two networks can link up. New information can come to mind and resolve the old problems. The important thing to remember is that it is your own brain doing the healing.

How Does It Work?

    • The therapist works gently with the client and asks him/her to revisit the traumatic moment or incident, recalling feelings surrounding the experience, as well as any negative thoughts or body sensations. The therapist then holds her fingers about eighteen inches from the clients face and begins to move them back and forth like a windshield wiper. The client tracks the movements as if watching ping pong. The more intensely the client focuses on the memory, the easier it becomes for the memory to come to life. As quick and vibrant images arise during the therapy session, they are processed by the eye movements, resulting in painful feelings being exchanged for more peaceful, loving and resolved feelings.

    For more information, check out the following links:

    The Evidence on E.M.D.R. by THE NEW YORK TIMES

    Expert Answers on E.M.D.R. by THE NEW YORK TIMES

    E.M.D.R. National Association