Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an evidence-based treatment used to help individuals process and heal from emotional distress caused by traumatic experiences. The concept of EMDR was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987 and relies heavily on our brain’s natural healing processes. Traumatic experiences can overwhelm our brain's natural coping mechanisms, leading to symptoms like flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and panic attacks later in life. EMDR therapy provides us a chance to reprocess and heal from emotional distress by reprogramming our brain's response to traumatic memories.
EMDR is particularly beneficial to individuals who have experienced traumatic events, such as survivors of accidents, abuse, or natural disasters. This therapeutic approach is also effective for individuals experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, phobias, grief, and addictions. Furthermore, EMDR can be beneficial to individuals seeking personal growth and self-improvement as it can address negative core beliefs about one’s self.
EMDR can be provided by therapists who have received specialized training in EMDR. EMDR-trained and certified therapists provide guidance through the eight phases of EMDR and have resources to help clients with emotional regulation. During EMDR sessions, an EMDR therapist will guide you through a series of bilateral stimulation exercises such as eye movements, auditory tones, or tapping. While you engage in bilateral stimulation, your EMDR therapist will have you revisit traumatic events or distressing memories. Through multiple sessions, your EMDR therapist will guide you through the eight stages of EMDR with the goals of alleviating negative emotional and physiological symptoms associated with traumatic experiences, promoting the integration of the traumatic memory into a more comprehensive narrative, and enabling you to develop more adaptive beliefs and behaviors.