Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)

What is EMDR?

Research has been conducted on the efficacy and benefits of EMDR in the treatment of trauma arising from the effects of war related experiences, childhood abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents. Recent research has also demonstrated the benefits of its use for phobias, anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorder and chronic pain. 

How does it work?

EMDR seems to directly influence the way that the brain functions. It helps to restore normal ways of dealing with problems. After such treatment using EMDR, is often less painful, and when images are brought into mind, what happened can still be accessed but no longer upsetting. 

EMDR appears to imitate the REM, (rapid eye movements) as experienced when we dream. It is a natural way to help the brain find a way to process information. This is similar to putting files in order in a filing cabinet or folding away linen in the linen cupboard so that when you open the door it doesn’t all fall out.

The therapist will use bilateral stimulation of the brain while noticing different aspects of the traumatic memory. This is carried out by using a hand in front of the eyes and moving from left to right, sometimes a light or sound can be used.

This takes place in the Limbic System, where the amygdala and hippocampus are located. You can learn more about this here.

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