Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
EMDR is a unique, non-traditional form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event.
EMDR was originally developed to treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and phobias but is also used to treat depression, eating disorders and stress caused by chronic disease.
In the early stages of therapy, you will discuss your problems and symptoms but won’t necessarily have to reveal all the details of your traumatic experience(s). You will learn techniques to help you deal with disturbing feelings and fully process any negative feelings so you no longer need to hold on to some of them. Sessions are devoted to reinforcing and strengthening positive feelings and beliefs until you get to a point where you can bring up memories of the traumatic event without experiencing the negativity that brought you to therapy in the first place.
The goal of EMDR is to fully process past experiences and sort out the emotions attached to those experiences. Negative thoughts and feelings that are no longer useful are replaced with positive thoughts and feelings that will encourage healthier behaviour and social interactions.
The repeated redirection of attention caused by the eye movements used in EMDR brings about a neurobiological state which resembles REM sleep. In this state traumatic and emotionally charged memories can be processed into more ordinary and less emotionally overwhelming memories so that the emotional charge of the trauma is relieved.