Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful new psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress.
EMDR is one of the most effective and rapid methods for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies. It is endorsed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense(DoD), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as an effective and recommended therapy for the treatment of PTSD.
How EMDR Works
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are “trapped” in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself. As troubling images and feelings are processed by the brain via the eye-movement patterns of EMDR, resolution of the issues and a more peaceful state are achieved.
The therapist works gently with the client and asks him/her to revisit the traumatic moment or incident, recalling feelings surrounding the experience, as well as any negative thoughts, feelings and memories. The therapist then holds her fingers about eighteen inches from the clients face and begins to move them back and forth like a windshield wiper. The client tracks the movements as if watching ping pong. The more intensely the client focuses on the memory, the easier it becomes for the memory to come to life. As quick and vibrant images arise during the therapy session, they are processed by the eye movements, resulting in painful feelings being exchanged for more peaceful, loving and resolved feelings.
Problems helped by EMDR
The studies to date show a high degree of effectiveness with the following conditions:
loss of a loved one, injury of a loved one, car accident, fire, work accident, assault, robbery, rape, natural disaster, injury, illness, witness to violence, childhood abuse, victims of violent crimes, performance and test anxiety, trauma, depression, anxiety or panic, phobias, fears, childhood trauma, physical abuse, sexual abuse, post traumatic stress, bad temper, overwhelming fears, panic attacks, low self-esteem, relationship problems, brooding or worrying, trouble sleeping,
The EMDR technique is most effective when used in conjunction with other traditional methods of therapy in treating these and many other emotional disorders.
EMDR therapy can help clients replace their anxiety and fear with positive images, emotions and thoughts.
Symptoms relieved by EMDR
- High anxiety and lack of motivation
- Memories of a traumatic experience
- Fear of being alone
- Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame
- Difficulty in trusting others
- Relationship problems
History of EMDR
EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987 when she was walking in the park and realized that eye movements appeared to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories. Since her initial medical study in 1989, positive therapeutic results with EMDR have been reported with the following populations:
- People who have witnessed or been a victim to a disaster (rape, accidents, earth quakes, fires, murder, gang related violence)
- Clients suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
- Suffers of panic disorders and anxiety attacks
- Suffers of phobias
- Chemically dependent clients
- Persons exposed to excess loss ( loss by death, divorce, loss of a house by fire)
- Crime victims and police officers who were once overcome with violent memories
- Accident or burn victims