Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
EMDR can be used to treat:
EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment:
Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulations) are used during part of the session. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, she asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use the eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. As this happens, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings.
In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes. The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution.
(EMDR Institute, Inc.)