Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a method by which therapists are able to reduce high levels of difficulty that people develop from a variety of situations and circumstance. These include experiences such as physical or emotional trauma, and less intense experiences, such as conflicting thoughts and feelings that contribute to depression, substance abuse, or eating disorders. Once thought to be primarily for the treatment of trauma and PTSD, EMDR is now considered one of the most effective non-traditional therapies for conditions that range from mood disorders to grief. The process involves the activation of bilateral brain stimulation through eye movement, or auditory or tactile stimulation, while focusing attention on the intense emotion or disturbance. Through repeated exposure, EMDR reduces the disturbance, and associated recurring thoughts, images, and feelings. This allows for processing to occur, allowing the person to move forward and have new associations that are no longer tied to the original experience. If you are struggling with emotional regulation or other difficulties, get started with a consultation. We are available for in-person or telehealth sessions.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that was originally designed to alleviate distress associated with traumatic memories. During EMDR therapy, the client attends to emotionally disturbing material in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus (like lateral eye movements, hand tapping, or auditory tones).
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
While the exact mechanisms of EMDR are not fully understood, it’s believed to facilitate the accessing and processing of traumatic memories to bring these to an adaptive resolution. The eye movements or other bilateral stimulation are thought to help the brain process the memories and reduce their emotional intensity.
EMDR has been considered controversial for several reasons. Some critics question whether the eye movements in EMDR are necessary, as some research has suggested that the therapy might be just as effective without them. Others argue that EMDR lacks a solid theoretical foundation. However, despite these controversies, EMDR has been found to be effective for treating PTSD in numerous clinical trials and is recognized as an effective treatment by multiple professional organizations.