WHAT IS EMDR?
EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy, is an information processing form of psychotherapy, used to reframe an event, memory, disturbing thoughts or material causing the person distress and to reformulate the associated negative belief and reduce the emotional disturbance, as well as the effect on the self esteem. Events or experiences in life, even in childhood such as disturbing experiences from the main care givers or other people in our lives, can often interrupt the information processing system of the brain. The memory is stored with the belief, negative emotion and any negative feelings we had at the time of the event. Current situations, events and experiences or even a look from someone, can often trigger the same emotion, feelings and beliefs as the initial event, as it had not been processed correctly, often leading us to feel the same way throughout our lives in many different situations, and thereby further compounding the situation.
EMDR is thought to be connected to REM (Rapid Eye Movement )sleep, this is a time in the sleep cycle when the eyes begin to move rapidly and when the mind is considered to be processing information and experiences
With EMDR the distressing memories, thoughts or experiences are reframed, new associations and information can then be processed using Internal insights that have come up during the process. EMDR has been used effectively in cases of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), as well as everyday memories which can cause low self esteem and a sense of powerlessness. EMDR is normally performed with the use of eye movements, however can be just as effective using hand tapping or audio sounds. During the sessions the intellectual emotional processing by the client, causes feelings to change, as a result of the clients accelerated learning, resulting in the client feeling empowered by the memories which were previously emotionally and often physically debilitating. The memory is not erased but stored in a new form. Unwanted symptoms from the past are removed with EMDR, leading to a better perspective on current situations and therefore a better future.
EMDR can be used to treat many conditions including but not limited to:
- Lacking motivation
- Relationship issues
- Exposure to loss
- Crime victims
- Accident victims
- Feeling Stuck
- Trust issues
- Performance issues
- Feelings of insecurity
EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro PH.D, at a time when she had cancer. It was used initially for everyday general life experiences, disturbing issues or memories which had been stored in the brain in a dysfunctional form, and caused emotional stress or disturbance. Studies of EMDR were then carried out on people suffering from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for resolving disturbing life experiences as well as small t trauma. Around this time doctors were beginning to understand the mind and body connection, and the effects of stress on our health were coming into awareness. EMDR was then used by the American Psychiatric Association and Department of Defense for war veterans. It is also recognized by the World Health Organization as an effective form of treatment for disturbing experiences and Trauma. Dr Shapiro has received the international Sigmund Freud Award for her contributions to Practice in Trauma Psychology.
EMDR cannot eliminate a problem caused by a physical injury or genetics.