What is EMDR and how does it work?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) emerged just over 25 years ago and, like other types of therapy, addresses personal emotional, behavioral, and cognitive issues. In my experience, EMDR is particularly effective in resolving long-standing, chronic problems that clients often report feeling “stuck” on, or problems that, for whatever reason, have not responded well to traditional talk therapy. According to the EMDR Institute, Inc., EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy in 1-5 sessions that once took years to make a difference. The World Health Organization lists EMDR as one of only three types of therapy that research has proven to be effective in treating stress related disorders such as PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
As it's name suggests, EMDR incorporates eye movements in order to stimulate the parts of the brain we need to be active and 'online' during the healthy and adaptive processing of information, experiences, feelings, etc. EMDR is not hypnosis, it is an evidence supported type of therapy combining physiology, psychology, and neurology. Check out this article for more information about how eye movements help us process unresolved information!
I have found great success using EMDR to treat a wide variety of issues ranging from anxiety, grief and loss to addictions and trauma. I use EMDR in my practice as both a stand alone technique and in conjunction with other modalities. For more information about the process of EMDR, it's history, and client personal stories see the link above to the EMDR Institute website or this New York Times article in which Dr. Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR therapy answers frequently asked questions.
Click here to see a video in which real patients talk about their experiences with EMDR!