Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a widely researched treatment modality that helps people heal from emotional distress and symptoms as a result of an upsetting or traumatic life experience. Anxiety, panic attacks, reactive behaviors, emotional eating, feeling “stuck”, are just some of the ways in which trauma can have a hold on you and your life.
What is trauma?
When something painful, unexpected, or out of our control happens in our lives, we may experience trauma. In the most basic sense, trauma is when we experience an intense emotional charge around something that has happened in the past.
Serious trauma is often associated with experiences such as incidents in war, sexual, physical and emotional abuse and or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However, trauma can also be experienced in response to other life events where your sense of safety or ability to feel in control are compromised.
Other causes of emotional and psychological trauma can include:
- Witnessing a traumatic event
- Eating disorders
- Significant breakup
- Motor vehicle accident
- Injury or other medical issues
How is EMDR helpful?
If you are finding yourself emotionally charged around past events and having a hard time managing those feelings, EMDR may be beneficial. The process of doing EMDR usually involves focus on a traumatic or disturbing memory while doing back and forth eye movements, listening to alternating tones, and/or feeling alternating vibrations in your hands. This process activates and synthesizes the left and the right hemispheres of the brain and enables the brain to resolve emotional trauma and gain insight into the circumstance in a way that is often more effective than traditional talk therapy.
During EMDR, you will identify and process “stuck” memories and work through them so that the distressing symptoms and heightened emotional reactions decrease and you can live more fully in the present moment. EMDR will not erase memories, rather it works to give you more control over how you think and feel about past memories in the present moment.