Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and many other psychological stressors. The process features a set of standardized protocols. During an EMDR session your therapist will use a Dual Awareness Stimulation (DAS) to help the brain bring up a difficult memory or allow a difficult memory. The goal of EMDR therapy is to completely process the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new aspects of the memory that are needed for full health. "Processing" means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be "digested" and stored appropriately in your brain. That means that what is useful to you from an experience will be learned, stored with adaptive emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future. The goal of EMDR therapy is to leave you with the emotions, understanding, and perspectives that will lead to healthy and useful behaviors and interactions.

Studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients. Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety. We know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people. EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

What kind of problems can EMDR treat?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress. However, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions: Panic attacks, Complicated grief, Dissociative disorders, Disturbing memories, Phobias, Pain disorders, Performance anxiety, Stress reduction, Addictions, Sexual and/or Physical abuse, Body dysmorphic disorders, Personality Disorders.

https://emdrcanada.org/emdr-defined