EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is recognized for healing emotional trauma by the American Psychiatric Association, Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, and the World Health Organization. . Originally developed to treat PTSD, it is very helpful for other conditions also, such as addiction, depression, and anxiety.
Trauma creates ongoing flight-or-flight reactions that seem frozen in time. It also sets up negative emotional states and beliefs about the self and the world. EMDR can be used to connect and heal the charged neural networks of unresolved trauma. To the right is an image of actual neural networks in the brain. You can see how they are interconnected in thousands of ways. EMDR helps rewire these by changing the associations. The result is that memories no longer have the “charge” that they had before treatment, allowing for more positive self-beliefs, more adaptive coping, and ultimately, a better life.
The technique itself involves sitting in a chair and using a device the size of a cell phone. It has headphones and hand-held clickers. At the beginning, you will become familiar with the device, and decide whether you prefer the headphones, the hand-clickers, or both. You can bring in your own headphones or earbuds to plug in, if you would like. The earphones and clickers stimulate both sides of the brain while we go through the EMDR techniques to process issues during therapy.
Here is a metaphor for how it works: It is based on the concept that memories of traumatic or adverse events have not been “filed” into the best filing cabinets in the brain. EMDR techniques help the person to “refile” memories into a better order in the brain. Studies show that this frequently takes away much, if not all, of the emotional pain and difficulties that these memories cause.