EMDR: What is it and how does it work?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an advanced psychotherapy model that combines psychology with physiology in a way that allows a person to identify and “clear” past traumatic events. These events can be as seemingly insignificant as a negative comment from a parent during childhood, or as catastrophic as a life-threatening event. Often undetected, we are blind to the fact that they are having an effect on our daily lives.  

How does EMDR work? Each of us has 2 different memory networks: adaptive and non-adaptive. Adapt­ive memories are needed to react to current circumstances; for example, you see a car speeding toward you and your body automatically reacts to the fear of being hit. When the accident is over, these memories should get stored away into your non-adaptive memory.  A problem occurs when a memory gets stuck, or frozen, in our adaptive memory, causing us to have responses that are no longer fitting to the situation.  The simple act of driving shouldn’t produce the same fear and anxiety as that experienc­ed during an actual accident.  Instead of reacting to only the current event (driving), our bodies react to the current event plus all the similar or related events from the past (a previous accident).   

EMDR takes those experiences stuck in our adaptive memory, and moves them into our non-adaptive memory, where they belong.

EMDR has been successfully applied to many areas, including:

• Performance anxiety
Performance Enhancement
• Phobias and panic/anxiety disorders
• Procrastination
• Issues with food and weight
• Chemical dependency
• Relationship issues
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
• Depression and many other issues

It is not necessary to learn to live with these reactions.  EMDR takes the process of traditional talk therapy a step further; it not only identifies the problem and its cause, it actually fixes the problem, permanently. 

Allow yourself to expect more from your therapy.