EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization
EMDR is one of the most efficient and effective research-supported treatments available. As an EMDRIA (EMDR International Association) certified practitioner, I have found the use of EMDR to be an exceptional tool in my psychotherapy practice.
EMDR is a technique developed by a psychologist, Dr. Francine Shapiro. She applied this approach in a scientific manner with victims of trauma with positive results. Over the years EMDR has developed and evolved. It integrates elements of many effective psychotherapies in a structured protocol that is designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies.
How EMDR Works and Who May be Helped
It is theorized that EMDR works by cultivating the brains normal information processing that is interrupted or distorted by traumatic events. Though EMDR is most often associated with use in treating post traumatic stress, it is also helpful for people who are experiencing anxiety, fears, phobias, disturbing memories, unrelenting grief, guilt and other emotional problems.
The Essential EMDR Process
The process involves concentrating on a disturbing event. Then in what is called bilateral stimulation of the brain, the therapist moves her hand from left to right while the client follows with her eyes. This stimulation can also be accomplished with a headset that emits tones that alternate from ear to ear, or hand-held pads that provide a mild vibration from hand to hand. The client observes whatever comes to mind, much like watching a movie.
After processing, people often report that the original issue is no longer distressing. Excess negative emotions, distorted self-assessments and disturbing physical sensations have diminished or even disappeared. People learn what was useful from their past experiences, have more positive beliefs about themselves, and generally experience increased feelings of peace and psychological well-being.
The American Psychiatric Association, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense along with many medical insurance companies consider EMDR an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress.