Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful new psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress. EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies. The EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are "trapped" in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself. As troubling images and feelings are processed by the brain via the eye-movement patterns of EMDR, resolution of the issues and a more peaceful state are achieved.

Find out more about EMDR.

What problems are helped by Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) ? The studies to date show a high degree of effectiveness with the following conditions:

  • loss of a loved one
  • injury of a loved one
  • car accident
  • fire
  • work accident
  • assault
  • robbery
  • rape
  • natural disaster
  • injury
  • illness
  • witness to violence
  • childhood abuse
  • victims of violent crimes
  • performance and test anxiety
  • depression
  • anxiety or panic
  • phobias
  • fears
  • childhood trauma
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • post traumatic stress
  • bad temper
  • overwhelming fears
  • panic attacks
  • low self-esteem
  • relationship problems
  • trauma
  • trouble sleeping

What are the Symptoms that can be helped by EMDR?

  • High anxiety and lack of motivation
  • Depression
  • Memories of a traumatic experience
  • Fear of being alone
  • Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame
  • Fear of being alone
  • Difficulty in trusting others
  • Relationship problems

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology and alleviates the symptoms of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

EMDR is practised on individuals who have experienced severe trauma that remains unresolved. According to Ms Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing event occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli are inadequately processed and stored in an isolated memory network.

The goal of EMDR is to process these distressing memories, reduce their lingering effects and allow clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. This is done in an eight-phase approach that involves having clients recall distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input, including side to side eye movements. The use of EMDR was originally developed to treat adults suffering from PTSD; however, it is also used to treat other conditions and children.