EMDR…Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro as a trauma therapy. By chance she discovered that rapid eye movements, while remembering a disturbing thought, can reduce the stress reaction. Since that time, EMDR has been shown to be useful in many areas, outside of what one would consider a big trauma such as:

Addictive behaviours
Emotional Eating
Grief & Loss
Self-esteem improvement
Performance enhancement

As Rev. Lynn James LMHC points out in her EMDR handbook, “The practise guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association (2004), American Psychological Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs & Defence (2004), have placed EMDR in the highest category of effectiveness.

During a charged event, the brain defaults to fight or flight. If the brain does not move out of this mode, the traumatic experience is encoded in memory with feelings. Because this type of memory has no sense of time, every time something happens to remind us of the incident, it is re-experienced. With this re-experience, the body response as if the danger were present, releasing stress hormones and causing the sympathetic nervous system to activate. EMDR helps these memories, encoded in the implicit memory area of the brain, to talk to the explicit memory area while keeping the body relaxed and calm. After the session (s) are complete, the client can experience the memory with an increased feeling of safety and a decrease in charge.