EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a technique developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1989 to treat trauma. Since that time considerable research has shown EMDR to be effective in treating a variety of trauma and stress conditions.
EMDR has been reported as successful in treating:
• Posttraumatic stress disorder
• Panic attacks
• Dissociative disorders
• Disturbing memories
• Anxiety disorders
• Performance anxiety
• Consequences of sexual and/or physical abuse
It is not known exactly how EMDR works but it seems to affect brain functioning. We know that in traumatic situations the brain does not process information adequately, with the result that memories of the traumatic event can have lasting effects on one’s quality of life. EMDR reprocesses the memories such that the event can be remembered, but without strong emotion. The mental processing that occurs with EMDR is thought to be similar to the processing that occurs when we are asleep and dreaming.
During an EMDR session, we will identify the focus of the session and decide which of several alternative methods to use. During the EMDR processing, you may briefly experience intense emotions, but will move through them rapidly, and will likely experience considerable reduction in the intensity of emotion, along with an increase in positive feelings about yourself. Frequently, much can be accomplished in a few sessions.