EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Talk therapy is an excellent way to delve into deep issues that may be affecting you without even knowing it. A 50 minute session once a week offers a place to unload and discover, which hopefully helps heal such things as unexplained phobias, anxiety, depression, a life impasse and so much more.

However, there are times where other therapies may be needed beyond simple talk. For psychiatrists, this may entail prescribing various medications to realign brain chemistry that may be impeding healthy living. Of course, there can be side effects when taking such prescriptions.

EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a simple process that may help some people overcome challenging, psychological struggles naturally. It does not use talk or medication therapies but rather a unique exercise that has been both successful and controversial in the psychotherapy industry.

EMDR is especially successful for those suffering from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder however it has now branched out to a whole host of other psychoses. These include depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction and even psychological stress related to cancer treatment.

Just One Finger

An EMDR therapist uses any type of repetitive movement the patient’s eyes can follow. That’s it. By moving something such as one finger back and forth in front of a patient’s eyes the therapist can cut through years of inward struggle in only a few sessions. It was an accidental discovery described here by Scientific American,

“One day in 1987 Francine Shapiro, a California psychologist in private practice, went for a walk in the woods. She had been preoccupied with a host of disturbing thoughts. Yet she discovered that her anxiety lifted after moving her eyes back and forth while observing her surroundings. Intrigued, Shapiro tried out variants of this procedure with her clients and found that they, too, felt better. EMDR was born.”

Desensitization and Reprocessing

“EMDR uses a patient’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events.” (WebMD)

An EMDR therapist will begin a session with minimal talk. Using one or several fingers; their entire hand; toe tapping; musical tones or any other number of repetitive movements, the patient is instructed to follow such with their eyes.

As their gaze moves side to side, the therapist will ask the patient to recall a traumatic event. Mental as well as physical feeling recall is encouraged bringing the patient as close to the event as possible. Once they are in the full throes of the traumatic memory, the therapist begins to guide them to more pleasant recollections.

These positive memories arise and the traumatic memories begin to dissipate rarely returning in the form of dreams, anxiety or any other number of manifestations . Slowly, after only a handful of sessions, patient’s have reported long lasting positive effects.

In a study conducted by researchers at the Trauma Center, Justice Resource Institute, Brookline, MA, and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (1/07) it was concluded that:

“This study supports the efficacy of brief EMDR treatment to produce substantial and sustained reduction of PTSD and depression in most victims of adult-onset trauma.”

A Valid Treatment

EMDR has been a hard pill to swallow for those practicing talk therapy as well as Big Pharma with billions profited from psychological pharmaceuticals. Yet, this simple technique is now considered an effective treatment by the Practice Guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association, and those of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Talk to your doctor about EMDR to see if it may be helpful for challenges you may be struggling with. Sometimes all it takes is a simple action to bring substantial results.