What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.
How does EMDR work?
We do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it usually does. A single moment can become "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma can 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 can interfere with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the distressing images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. They still remember what happened, but the event is less upsetting; normal information processing is resumed.
EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
How long does EMDR take?
One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment.
A typical EMDR session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR can also be used in different formats: within standard "talking" therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
What kinds of problems can EMDR treat?
Scientific research has determined EMDR to be effective for post- traumatic stress. Clinicians also have reported success in the treatment of the following conditions: panic attacks, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, phobias, pain disorders, eating disorders, performance anxiety, stress reduction, addictions, sexual and/or physical abuse, body dysmorphic disorders and personality disorders.