Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is based on the idea that symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other disorders which cause intense emotional responses are often caused by traumatic experiences where that memory was not adequately processed. These memories hold the emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations that arose from the event. When triggered, these disturbing parts of the memory arise and are experienced again.

Many other forms of psychotherapy work to process these responses through talk and examining beliefs and emotions surrounding the past event. EMDR, on the other hand, works to alter the way the memory is stored in the brain, reducing the intensity and emotion connected to the memory.

Part of the therapy includes eye movements or other bilateral stimulation. It’s believed to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Targeting a specific memory, these movements bring new internal associations and the youth begins to process the memory and disturbing feelings. Once processed, the brain’s natural healing can resume. The memory remains, but the overwhelming response to it is resolved.