EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a specialized therapeutic technique designed to help alleviate stresses that are connected with traumatic events by removing negative triggers of the traumatic event that impedes positive mental health.
What is EMDR?
During EMDR a therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the EMDR treatment session. The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought and whatever thoughts and beliefs are currently held about that event. The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention stimulation of the brain, while the client focuses on the disturbing material and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content. Each person will process the information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one's self. During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance that the initial traumatic event was to them.
One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. Client and therapist will also discuss EMDR more fully and provide an opportunity to answer questions about the method. Once therapist and client have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem, the actual EMDR therapy may begin.
A typical EMDR session lasts from 60- 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR may be used with a standard "talking" therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist or as a treatment all by itself.
Therapists trained in EMDR: