EMDR is a neurologically based therapy that works well in helping people who struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, depression, grief, eating disorders, chronic pain and managing stress. However, it is best known for helping someone to process a trauma so that it no longer contains a negative emotional or physical charge. When someone experiences a trauma, such as a car accident, a painful medical procedure, or any catastrophic event, their brain is often not able to process the experience the way the brain normally would. Sometimes it is as though a negative experience becomes "frozen in time." The information that is acquired at the time of the trauma, such as, what the person recalls seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling in their body kinesthetically, feeling emotionally, etc, gets locked into the nervous system in its disturbing state. The person may then experience all of this in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, or other symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These symptoms can then get triggered by anything in the present that reminds the person of the trauma, such as when they attempt to drive a car after being in an accident.
Have you heard the saying, "Sleep on it and you'll feel better tomorrow?" Well, when you are asleep and you are in that Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep, your eyes go back and forth, which is considered to be an example of a natural way the mind heals itself. Since EMDR involves the alternating stimulation of the left and right brain through either a visual, tactile or auditory component, it is hypothesized that EMDR either mimics or works in conjunction with that natural process. There has been a great deal of research on the effectiveness of EMDR over the past 25 years, and it is now considered to be an "evidence based therapy" by the American Psychiatric Association. For more information about this versatile tool, go to www.emdr.com.