EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

Eye Movement: It has been observed that beneficial effects are facilitated by an alternating stimulation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Eye movements accomplish this, as do bilateral alternating taps or tones.

Desensitization: Refers to the removal of the emotional disturbance associated with a traumatic memory.

Reprocessing: Refers to the replacement of the unhealthy, negative beliefs associated with traumatic memories, with more healthy, positive beliefs.

What is EMDR?

Research study about EMDR was first published in 1989. EMDR is used to treat troubling symptoms such as anxiety, guilt, anger, depression, panic, sleep disturbance and flashbacks that are the result of traumatic experiences. Traditional therapies have met with limited success in treating victims of trauma. Positive changes through EMDR appear to be permanent. It now incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.

When is EMDR appropriate?

EMDR has been successfully used to treat many problems. Some of them include:

  • PTSD

There are two types of traumas, big “T” and little “t” trauma. Big “T” traumas are major horrific events like rape, loss of loved one, accident, war, nature caused disaster such as flood etc. Little “t” traumas are the smaller everyday chronic horrors such as bullying, going to face or going through transition phase such as separation, break up, ongoing relationship issues (at work or home) etc. EMDR can help heal both types of trauma.

What are Risks?

EMDR can be a very intense emotional experience, temporarily. It is not appropriate for those who are unwilling or unable to tolerate highly disturbing emotions.

Ref: EMDR Basic Training Manual from British Columbia School of Professional Psychology. Revised 01-2018.