EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
That's quite a mouthful.
It's a type of therapy that works on a brain, emotional, and and body level to:
Change how you feel about the things that happened to you.
Shift how it made you feel about yourself.
Strengthen and reinforce positive experiences.
Between you and me, I’ve been amazed how well it works. I was trained in 2005 and earned a certification after that, using it with clients from age 3 to 82.
I've used it with enormous success to help clients with:
How does it work?
No one knows for sure how any psychotherapy works. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, the brain has trouble making sense of an experience. It receives sensory information — what you saw, what you heard, what you smelled, etc. But it doesn’t digest this sensory information into a cohesive story that makes sense. The experience becomes frozen in time and will often loop around indefinitely.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes sensory information and digests experiences. It helps turn the sensory information into a cohesive story that makes sense. You still remember what happened, but it’s way less upsetting.
Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
This is all thanks to this thing about your brain called neuroplasticity.
Another big word.
It's your brains ability to grow and change throughout your life.
The Back Story
EMDR was discovered accidently by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987. She went on to develop it. You can read all about it by clicking here.
Research on EMDR
More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy. Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.
Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense.
Some of the information on this page was adapted from: