EMDR stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing” – it is a well researched and effective method of working with traumatic memories that helps the brain shift how it reacts to stimuli and ultimately decreases or resolves the distress associated with past trauma. It uses bilateral stimulation, often in the form of moving the eyes back and forth, in order to interrupt how the brain stores the painful memory. Done correctly, it is a powerful and useful tool for reducing symptoms related to traumatic events – the types of experiences that are appropriate for EMDR range greatly from acute, single-incident traumas like car accidents, attacks, etc to interpersonal traumas like the first time you felt shame for being different. The experience doesn’t need to be something someone else would consider a “major” trauma – anything that permanently impacted your way of relating to yourself or to others is a good candidate for EMDR and we work together to identify appropriate memories to target.
Some potential benefits of EMDR:
- Reduced reactivity
- Resolution of symptoms related to original trauma
- Increased tolerance of challenging situations
- Greater sense of calm