EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Developed from a chance discovery more than 20 years ago, it is now one of the most researched methods for resolving the results of traumatic or stressful life experiences. EMDR is recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Health for the treatment Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Through years of experience we have found, and much research supports, its use for other less severe anxiety disorders as well, such as Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. It also effectively reduces the intensity and frequency of anger episodes, allowing the person to make active choices about how they handle frustrating events.
Complementing traditional therapy for substance abuse, EMDR can reduce our urge to drink, to use drugs, smoke or to binge on food. EMDR involves first regaining a feeling of safety and support. Next, a troubling memory is located and reprocessed by watching, in the mind’s eye, the memory while noticing thoughts and body sensations, as a “left-right, left-right” element is added. This can be with eye movements, taps or tones.
Both hemispheres of the brain then remain engaged to actually relocate the memory from the stress centers of the brain to the cortex where it becomes a part of our story. Most people are pleasantly surprised to find that things that have troubled them for years become simply a fact of past experience without any present feeling.
EMDR is effective with adults, and with adaptations, to teens and children. More information on EMDR can be found at www.emdr.com.
Some good books for general readers are EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Trauma" and "Getting Past Your Past" both by Francine Shapiro.