Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and many other mental health problems. EMDR therapy is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress. EMDR was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist, and educator. Dr. Shapiro is a Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy technique that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. EMDR allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. It activates a natural healing process in the brain through alternating eye movements, sounds, or through tactile stimulation. For many clients, EMDR therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than normal psychotherapy.
EMDR therapy helps children and adults with the following issues:
• Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
• Chronic Illness and medical issues
• Dissociative disorders
• Eating disorders
• Grief and loss
• Performance anxiety
• PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
• Sexual assault
• Substance abuse and addiction
• Violence and abuse
EMDR Institute describes healing with EMDR as a process that happens in the brain as the brain has a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (where safety and danger memories are created and stored), and the prefrontal cortex (which controls behavior and emotion).
Some events are so upsetting that the normal communication between these areas becomes blocked and cannot be processed without help. This stress response is part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze response. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being "frozen in time."
EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.