"I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become."
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a therapy approach that can help people heal from trauma or other disturbing life experiences.
Our brains have a natural way of “digesting” disturbing events, such that we’re able to put these behind us. When a disturbing event overwhelms the resources we have to cope with it at the time, it can interfere with that process. It may be strange to think of your brain experiencing “indigestion,” but when this happens, we may find that disturbing situations in our past become “stuck” in the emotional part of our brain with no date or time stamp, along with the original images, sounds, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. When something in the here and now activates these inadequately processed memories, we may feel as though they are happening now, which may appear as an “overreaction” to whatever situation is occurring in the present.
EMDR is a PTSD treatment recognized as effective by the American Psychiatric Association, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, World Health Organization, and US Department of Veteran Affairs. There is evidence that it can also be helpful with many different concerns, including (but not limited to) anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias; depression and bipolar disorders; eating disorders; and grief and loss. It uses “bilateral stimulation” (e.g., eye movements) guided by a therapist to facilitate the brain’s natural healing process, allow it to process the information, and bring balance back to the system, such that someone can then leave the past in the past.
The following video offers a brief, very clear explanation of what EMDR does and how it does this: