EMDR is a therapuetic technique that has helped many people see that there is a cleared path ahead of them. Whether you feel your symptoms are more like anxiety, depression, or trauma triggers, EMDR intervention provides a systematic approach that can begin to unravel complex negative thoughts and emotions.
The name can be a bit confusing ... Eye Movement ... Desensitization ... Reprocessing.
Eye Movement is a descriptive term for the key aspect of the intervention, which is a form of bilateral stimulation. Hallmark to the approach is the rythmic, consistent stimulation of both sides of the brain in an alternative fashion. Originally, the technique involved the therapist holding a pencil in front of the client, and having the client follow the end of the pencil with their eyes moving back and forth. Research now shows that reciprocal stimulation can be an audible tone alternatively in each ear, or a mild buzz or tap in each hand.
I liken the impact of bilateral stimulation to placing a magnifying glass over whatever thought, emotion, or memory that has been targeted, bringing it to the surface or making it more vivid. I often start this technique by helping clients in enhancing positive and relaxing images, before moving to difficult issues. Desensitization means that a memory or thought loses its negative charge. It is neutralized.
Reprocessing is accomplished, when, the now neutralized negative thoughts, take on an empowered component. For example, a person may have devloped a negative core belief, "I am not safe", after being harmed by a parent as a child. After an effective EMDR intervention, the person may now have a sense that "I remember being harmed by my parent, and I did not feel safe then, but now I know I have strong inner resources, that I have choices, and that I can harness those resources to protect myself." The person realizes that, though they still know what happened to them, it just does not impact them negatively anymore.