Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Life is a trauma process that forms our negative self-talk. These experiences range from the “big T” traumas (such as life threatening events that most people think of as “trauma”) to the “little t” traumas that make up everyday life (such as not being selected for the job of your dreams). When a traumatic event occurs, our brain may not process information as it does ordinarily. That event may become stuck in the body-mind such that memories of the trauma may feel as unsettling as experiencing an event the first time, with all of the images, sounds, smells, and feelings unchanged.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) utilizes the body-mind connection to effect how your brain processes information. The process of EMDR has been described as being similar to removing a splinter from a hand and then allowing the body to do the rest of the healing naturally. With EMDR, we can remove a splinter from the psyche and access a natural healing process for trauma.
The EMDR method has substantial research support for many applications, including: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), physical and emotional trauma recovery, phobias, peak performance, and chronic pain management.
EMDR engages “bilateral stimulation” of the right and left halves of the brain. The classic version of EMDR is stimulation through eye movement. This appears to stimulate a process similar to REM sleep, which is the dream stage of sleep when the eyes move naturally. It is believed that just like REM sleep, EMDR stimulates both sides of the brain to “download” the information of the day in an organized manner. Other forms of bilateral stimulation include alternating sound and alternating tactile stimulation (like tapping).
By stimulating both sides of the brain while focusing on an event, we are able to reprocess the stored memory using your normal information processing. This process transforms the memory from “technicolor and surround sound” to more of a “black and white and monotone” experience. The memory no longer has emotional potency, but is simply “a part of your story.”
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