What Is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is primarily a trauma therapy. When a person is very upset for whatever reason, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment may become “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
The bilateral focus of EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way the brain processes information. Following a successful EMDR session, normal information processing can resume. The troubling memory can be recalled, but without the disturbing feelings and reactions. The bilateral effect seems to resemble REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
EMDR is not hypnotherapy. The client remains fully conscious and actually helps me direct the session.
The amount of time depends on the client’s history. Complete treatment of the targets involves a 3-prong protocol (1-past memories, 2-present disturbance, and 3-future actions) . All are needed to alleviate the symptoms and complete the clinical picture. Some clients find it easier to establish trust than others. Trust must be established to have a positive working relationship and move therapy forward. Most clients attend 3 to 10 sessions in order to resolve old traumas.
The goal of EMDR is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new ones that are needed for full health. Old memories need to be re-processed and stored with appropriate feelings which lead to more positive responses to problems in the future.
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