EMDR seems to be everywhere these days. Even Prince Harry has done EMDR therapy! So, what exactly is EMDR?
𝐒𝐨 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐄𝐌𝐃𝐑?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is an evidence-based treatment used in psychotherapy to treat trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and phobias.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐄𝐌𝐃𝐑 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤?
EMDR helps facilitate the brain’s natural healing processes through bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, tapping or audio.
During a traumatic or stressful event, the brain does not process information as it normally would.
When overwhelmed, information can get “stuck” or stored in the brain in unhelpful ways allowing past events to negatively affect you in the present.
The old stored information can be triggered in the present and can cause you to have flashbacks or be triggered by similar thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations from when the trauma occurred. This can impact the way a person views the world and how they relate with others.
EMDR uses various from so bilateral stimulation such as eye movements (similar to what occurs during REM sleep) to help facilitate information processing and reduce the effects of trauma and the underlying negative beliefs.
After successful EMDR treatment, you will still remember what happened, yet you will not be overwhelmed when recalling the painful memories of the incident.
How will EMDR change how I show up in the world?
In addition to processing through a traumatic memory, EMDR helps shift core negative beliefs to more neutral and even positive beliefs.
We can often know something in our rational mind, and not believe it in our body at the same time. Our unconscious beliefs are often driving our behavior.
From “It was my fault” ➡ “I did the best I could.”
“I’m powerless” ➡ “I have choices.”
“I’m worthless” ➡ “I’m worthy”.
This is one of many reasons why somatic therapy that examines the connection between the body and mind, such as EMDR and somatic experiencing are so powerful. As “The body remembers what the mind forgets”.
I was recently featured in an article on PsychCentral about EMDR as a treatment option for PTSD. Check it out here!