EMDR is a specific therapeutic technique for relieving psychological distress of many kinds.
When a person experiences something extremely distressing and overwhelming, 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.
Traumatic experiences, even if they do not seem particularly catastrophic, can contribute to a number of concerns, including anxiety and depression.
We do not know exactly. However, EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following successful EMDR treatment, a person is no longer impacted in the same way by the past event or events. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.
The goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new ones that are needed for full health.
“Processing” does not mean talking about it. One of the unusual features of EMDR is that the person seeking treatment does not have to discuss any of his or her disturbing memories in detail.
“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, and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future.
The majority of research has focused on the effectiveness of EMDR for PTSD and traumatic memory. However, there is both anecdotal and research support for its use in panic attacks, complicated grief, phobias, pain disorders, anxiety, body dysmorphic disorders, and eating disorders.
We offer individual counseling both in-person and online with a free 15-minute phone consultation.