What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing or EMDR is a relatively new therapy, having been established only twenty years ago. EMDR is a highly effective talking therapy treatment suitable for both adults and children who have experienced trauma. It is also helpful for behavioural and emotional problems.
An essential part of the treatment is the use of bilateral stimulation of the brain, which enables the two sides of the brain to communicate with each other. During this process, snapshots of the traumatic incident are recalled along with the negative thoughts and body sensations. The client is asked to notice whatever happens during the left-right stimulation.
Bilateral stimulation is achieved using a variety of methods, most commonly eye movements. The client is asked to look at the therapist’s finger (or a light on a bar) and follow it back and forth with their eyes.
Hand taps, hand buzzers or headphones with individual left and right sounds can be used. After a few seconds, the stimulation is stopped, and the client is asked to tell what they noticed.
EMDR is a therapeutic approach that uses left-right brain stimulation to help unblock the brains processing traumatic memories, so they become ordinary memories. The exact process of how this works is unclear, but neuroscientific research shows natural connections do change during this type of therapy. Brain scans show that different areas of the brain light up before and after sessions indicating the site where the memory is held before and after therapy.
Despite being a relatively new therapy, EMDR is proving via scientific research to be an effective treatment in the area of trauma.