EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a clinically proven methodology for reprocessing distressing memories in an expedited manner. If it could be renamed, it would most likely be called Bilateral Stimulation Therapy. This is because both hemispheres of the brain are being stimulated through the use of different stimuli i.e, a comfortable alternating tone in each ear or gentle alternating vibrating discs that can be easily held in each palm of the hand. Some clinicians utilize a horizontal light bar that delivers a LED light that easily sweeps back and forth across the field of vision while the client follows with their eyes.
It is the treatment of choice when treating posttraumatic stress disorder and any significant traumatic memory. It is something that has to be experienced more than explained as no amount of explanation will help an individual fully understand the process. Traumatic memories are easy to identify because we tend to feel these in our body when we recall them. EMDR focuses on the visual image of the memory, the emotions and physical sensations associated with the memory. It uses the same natural system your brain uses for processing any event and helps you arrive at a rational conclusion about the traumatic memory. EMDR activates the memory systems that encompasses the trauma so that it can be processed intentionally and efficiently. EMDR is not necessarily used in every session and sometimes it is not needed at all. It will only be used when appropriate and with the client’s agreement.
Some examples of traumatic memories could be experiencing obvious physical, emotional or sexual abuse as a child, being bullied, feelings associated with significant losses such as divorce or death of a loved one. Another example is surviving a near-death experience such as a automobile accident or natural disaster. It is important to realize that these are only examples and what may not seem like a painful memory to someone else is extremely painful to you.
Brain imaging technology has provided us with proof that a traumatized brain is an over functioning brain.Through the work of EMDR, the brain is returned to a normal level of functioning.