What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a method of psychotherapy that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. (EMDRIA.org)
How Does EMDR Work?
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way. (EMDRIA.org)
Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR
EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients
Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms
EMDR designated as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress
American Psychiatric Association
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Defense
United Kingdom Department of Health
Israeli National Council for Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health sponsored website (therapyadvisor.com)
Other international health and governmental agencies.
Symptoms of Treatment:
Scientific research has established EMDR as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress. In addittion to post traumatic stress, clinicians have reported success using EMDR in the treatment of the following conditions:
Sexual and/or physical abuse
Body Dysmorphia disorders