What is Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing?

by The Mind Faculty

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

What is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)?

This breakthrough psychotherapy was designed to help patients overcome the devastating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can occur after experiences such as physical or emotional abuse, rape, car accidents or military combat. It has been proven to help people experience the benefits of therapy that use to take years.

Using eye movements, it helps the brain to re-process a traumatic situation.

How we experience physical trauma is similar to how we experience physical trauma. For example, if you have a cut, the body works to close the wound. If there is a foreign object in the cut, or there are repeated injuries, the wound remains open, and continues to cause pain. This is similar to mental trauma. When we experience a disturbing event, it can cause blockages or imbalances in the system. Therefore, we are forced to re-experience the trauma. Using EMDR, the practitioner can help the patient to remove the black, and let the healing begin.

How does it work?

The goal of the therapy is to process problematic experiences, and reframe them in a positive light. It is an eight-phase protocol that will you resolve any negative emotions, feelings and behaviors caused by these experiences and leave you with emotions, understanding and perspectives that will lead to healthy and useful behaviors.

The therapy uses eye movements to help re-process the information. This is connected to the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. It was discovered by Dr. Francine Shapiro, who found that emotional and behavioral symptoms resulting from disturbing experiences tend to resolve naturally when a person allows his or herself to recall various elements of a memory while engaging in lateral eye movements. Therefore, this can help the patient to process a trauamtic memory and disturbing feelings, and change the meaning of the painful event on an emotional level.

For example, a rape victim can shift from feelings of horror and blame to “I survived, and I am strong.”

It uses a three-pronged protocol, involving to the patient’s past, present and future. It pays attention of traumatic memories, and past related events. It also focuses on current distressing situations, in order to develop the skills and behaviors required for positive future action.

Who does it work for?

It has been proven to be effect for PTSD. It has also been successful in treating the following conditions:

  • Panic attacks
  • Complicated grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Addiction
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality disorders

Via EMDR International Association, EMDR Institute, EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program