EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is a method to treat people who have disturbing or traumatic memories. EMDR has been extensively researched (See EMDR link) and proven effective for the treatment of trauma, specifically for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a psychological disorder that occurs when the brain, body and mind are unable to process (understand and prevent re-occurrence) what has happened in a way that allows the person to learn and heal from it. Untreated traumatic events may lead to symptoms such as depression, nightmares, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks (which bring back the fear and disturbing details of the original experience). EMDR mimics the brains natural way of processing information by using eye movements and other types of bilateral stimulation.
One of the most difficult aspects of PTSD is that present day experiences which have nothing to do with the originally traumatizing event, have the power to 'activate' the networks in the brain that created the disturbing aftereffects. Thus, the person ends up being 'triggered' by such ordinary daily events as smells, sounds and sights reminiscent off the original event, leaving them in a state of discomfort similar to that experienced during the trauma. This makes everyday life a minefield of potential triggers, never knowing when one will be set off. An example would be the smell of the cologne worn by a child's abuser, once the child was grown. This is typical of the type of 'somatic clearing' that can be expected with EMDR. Once treated successfully, the smell would no longer have the power to 'trigger' the same visceral response.
EMDR is effective for any kind of upsetting, problematic or stressful event that causes people to have some level of dysfunction in their life whether it’s anxiety, panic, phobias, depression or PTSD. Only trained mental health practitioners in EMDR should provide this treatment.
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