emdr: eye movement desensitization and reprocessing

For many years as a therapist, I was frustrated that I did not have a sure and effective way to help clients recover from abuse, trauma, distressing behaviors and fears, and catastrophic childhood experiences. We could talk and talk about the problems, but complete recovery did not happen. However, once I trained in the use of emdr eighteen years ago, I was finally able to tell someone I could really provide a way for complete recovery. I am grateful to be able to provide this service. Below is the way I explain this to my clients:

EMDR as ADAPTIVE INFORMATION PROCESSIng

EM: Eye Movement, D: Desensitization, and R: Reprocessing

Given the best-case scenario, our brains can process new information and experiences to a level of understanding, adaptation, and completion. This means we can take in physiological information via thoughts, images, emotions, and sensations and make sense of them. We can then adapt to and resolve events to our satisfaction.

However, many memories and experiences, especially distressing and traumatic ones, are stored and remain unprocessed because we are too young, or do not have a chance to do this. We bury them or they are stored completely as emotion and sensation. When this happens, we develop dysfunctional reactions to life triggers, which we cannot understand or explain, and these remain so until processed to adaptation and resolution. This is especially true for young children, whose brains and cognitive abilities are not yet formed. They are stored as traumatic, unprocessed memories because there is no way to think them through.

EMDR assists us to remember and release these traumatic memories and finally think them through to a level of adaption. This is the reprocessing part of EMDR. It’s similar to REM sleep, when we process daily events and unconscious material. Finally, by bilateral stimulation, the left (thinking) brain connects to the right (feeling brain) and we can desensitize our reactions and feelings and then decide how to make sense of them. This is the reprocessing part of EMDR.

EMDR helps our brain to complete its own natural healing process

Please feel free to log onto the following websites to access more information about the history, research, and clinical applications of EMDR.