Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. EMDR allows the brain to release trauma using elements of psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies to maximize treatment effects.
EMDR is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach to address the experiences and memories which contribute to the problems that a person is having.
- The past experiences that have set the groundwork for problems, conflicts, or distress.
- The current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs, and sensations.
- The positive experiences needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors, mental health, and well-being.
During treatment, various procedures and protocols are used to address the entire clinical picture. One of the procedures used is "bilateral stimulation" using either bilateral eye movements, tones or taps. During this 'reprocessing' phase, clients generally experience the emergence of insight, changes in the relationships that they have with their memories, or new associations. The client, in effect, re-experiences memories but within the context and safety of the present.
EMDR is accepted as an effective treatment for trauma. It is now being used to treat depression, anxiety, and a variety of other clinical issues.
After EMDR processing, clients generally report that the emotional distress related to the memory has been eliminated, or greatly decreased, and that they have gained important cognitive insights. Importantly, these emotional and cognitive changes usually result in spontaneous behavioral and personal change, which are further enhanced with standard EMDR procedures.
EMDR is often brief, effective, and life-changing.