Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
Does EMDR really work?
I never would have guessed that EMDR could actually work. I heard about it for years and I wondered, how could moving my hand in front of a person’s eyes dissolve a trauma?
If you could see EMDR being done on someone, you would see a client and therapist sitting pretty close, facing one another and the therapist would be moving his or her hand from left to right in front of the client’s face and telling that person to follow the movement of the hand with their eyes only, while keeping the head still. You’d have to wonder how following a hand or a pencil or a bar of light would dissolve trauma? But it does.
How Does EMDR Work?
My personal understanding of why and how it works is based on my training as an EMDR certified clinician and in my experience as I work with clients and observe. EMDR changes the emotions that are associated with a memory and with an upsetting situation or feeling, even very serious traumas such as PTSD.
It does so not only because of the eye movement, but because the EMDR therapist helps the client reprocess all the connections stemming from that experience and weakens the underlying connection and belief system. It works with the client’s thoughts and feelings, replacing old thoughts and feelings with a more adaptive belief.
By thinking about the event from a distance and from a different perspective, the therapist helps the client reframe the event in their mind. During the process, one thought leads to another related thought or feeling until all the related thoughts and feelings are emptied and the emotional response is no longer activated. And as the eyes move from left to right they imitate the movements of REM sleep which is when the brain processes and assimilates information.
What Does EMDR Help?
EMDR helps with emotions. It is most known for Trauma Resolution, but having a big trauma is only one area EMDR helps. Little traumas, fears and past experiences are helped with EMDR and there is research that supports it as an effective tool for eating disorders, alcohol and other complicated and difficult problems.
Laura Pagano Temin is a certified EMDR therapist in Roswell GA. If you are interested in treatment contact us at Achievement Strategies, Inc.
See more about EMDR and Trauma in the brain in this video with Dr. Amen