Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR Works in the process of Healing
When a person is very upset, their brain
cannot process information as it does
ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen
in time," and remembering a trauma
may feel as bad as going through it
the first time because the images, sounds,
smells, and feelings haven’t changed.
Such memories have a lasting negative
effect that interferes with the way
a person sees the world and the way
they relate to other people.
EMDR has an effect on the way the brain
processes information. Normal information
processing is resumed so that following
a successful EMDR session, a person
no longer relives the images, sounds,
and feelings when the event is brought
to mind. You still remember what happened,
but it is less upsetting. EMDR is similar
to what occurs naturally during dreaming
or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore,
EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically
based therapy that helps a person see
disturbing material in a new and less
distressing way. (adapted from emdria.org)
The emphasis in EMDR is to help the
brain reorganize and store the traumatic
memory in an effective manner. E.M.D.R.
helps the information processing system
make the automatic connections required
to resolve the disturbance. During the
EMDR session, “specific procedures
are used to help clients maintain a
sense of control during memory work
as the therapist guides their focus
of attention. They need only focus briefly
on the disturbing memory during the
processing while engaged in the bilateral
stimulation (eye movements, taps or
tones) as the internal associations
are made. The client’s brain makes
the needed links as new emotions, sensations,
beliefs and memories emerge. All the
work is done during the therapy sessions.
It is not necessary for the client to
describe the memory in detail, and no
homework is used.” Dr Francine
The anticipated results of an EMDR session
are that the person is no longer bothered
or haunted by the traumatic event because
the brain is now accommodating the memory
as it does all others.
Sometimes other related traumas and
memories come up in an EMDR session.
These also can be processed using EMDR
- usually in a subsequent session.