What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization, more commonly called EMDR, is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.

What kind of problems can EMDR treat?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post-traumatic stress. However, in addition to trauma, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Complicated Grief
  • Phobias
  • Stress
  • Disturbing Memories
  • Pain Disorders
  • Addictions

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 normally would. Upsetting experiences become “frozen in time,” and remembering them 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. After EMDR, you still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. There are many types of therapy that 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.

Learn more about EMDR at http://www.emdria.org

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