(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
What is EMDR?
Researched through numerous controlled studies, EMDR has been
found to be a highly effective approach to Trauma therapy.
The idea behind EMDR is that traumatic events are not processed
at the time they happened but are instead "locked" into
the brain. Without processing, these preserved memories can be
suddenly "triggered" by sights, sounds, smells, emotions,
and sensations. EMDR allows the brain to return and process these
memories in a safe way using alternating eye movements, hand taps
or sounds. EMDR is a complex procedure and can only be done by
a properly trained therapist.
How EMDR works
During EMDR, the client is asked to focus simultaneously on the emotionally
disturbing issue and on external stimuli achieved through eye movements,
or alternating sounds or taps. It is believed that the act of tracking the
alternating stimuli helps "unlock" the memories and accelerate the
information processing needed for the traumatic issues to be resolved.
With the therapist's guidance, all the elements of the original traumatic
experience (the circumstance, the sensory reminders of it, the
emotions and body sensations evoked, the underlying beliefs, and
overall meaning) are focused on and transformed to new, adaptive
beliefs and feelings, while the emotional intensity around the
issue is reduced significantly.
What to expect with EMDR
A thorough assessment and a preparation stage precede the EMDR
processing sessions. Typical EMDR sessions are 90 minutes long.
Because intense emotional states may be evoked during these sessions,
there are physical and psychiatric conditions for which EMDR may
be contraindicated. For more information about EMDR, please check
out the EMDR Canada and