EMDR Therapy is internationally recognized as an effective & efficient therapy for the treatment of symptoms of stress & trauma. It was developed in the US in 1989 by American psychologist Francine Shapiro, and has been validated as a best-practice, evidence-based psychotherapy for ASD & PTSD by (among many others):
- The World Health Organization (2013),
- The American Psychiatric Association (2004 & 2009),
- The US Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs (2004 & 2010), and
- The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2000 & 2008).
EMDR Therapy is regulated by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), which oversees the training, certification and consultation for EMDR therapists in North America.
What is EMDR Therapy effective for?
- PTSD symptoms like flashbacks, intrusions & panic attacks
- anxiety, depression, over-reactive anger, phobias, irritability, worrying, disturbed sleep etc. – anything that leads clients to think they are “stressed out” or stuck
- anything that is trauma-related (including attachment breaks, experiential contributors & neglect as well as “T” traumas)
- EMDR Therapy is also effective for Complex PTSD, DDNOS, DID and diagnosed Personality Disorders.
How does EMDR Therapy work?
EMDR mobilizes the brain’s own healing mechanisms.
As human beings, we are adaptable; we naturally move towards healing. Just as the body naturally heals from a wound, so does the human spirit orient towards healing.
In some instances, clients are able to naturally resolve traumas. They are able to remember the negative experience but feel neutral about it. Sometimes, however, the reprocessing gets stuck (just like when dirt gets into a wound, blocking healing there). This is where EMDR Therapy comes in.
It desensitizes and reprocesses negative memories and issues so you can come to have peace with them.
EMDR is an excellent way of releasing the pain from the past, to free up your resources for the present and future.
In EMDR therapy, after a thorough preparation and assessment period, the reprocessing work begins:
- The client thinks precisely (images, thoughts, emotions & body sensations) about something that is upsetting to them – like a traumatic memory.
- They then follow the therapist’s hand waving back and forth in front of their eyes (or follow alternating auditory beeps or tactile pulses).
- This ‘back-and-forth’ or dual awareness stimulation reactivates the information processing system of the brain. The idea is that trauma, or difficult issues, sometimes get stuck in the brain, along with their emotional or even physical content. EMDR’s bilateral stimulation & protocols resolve them.
- EMDR has been shown to be neurobiologically similar to what your brain is doing during REM sleep (the dreaming stage)