Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy is a model of therapy that helps to shift how memories are stored in the brain. When memories become stored the wrong way, this results in trauma, including PTSD. Such memories cause emotional distress, inaccurate negative beliefs about ourselves, and functional problems in life. This occurs through the use of Bilateral Stimulation (BLS),
usually in the form of eye movements.
During EMDR Reprocessing, the client is asked to hold in mind aspects of a disturbing memory, while also maintaining connection to the safety of the therapist's office in the present moment. This Dual Attention is thought to allow the disturbing memory to move through aspects of the REM sleep process, which in essence strips the memory of its disturbing emotions, its strong sensory components, and its inaccurate/dysfunctional meanings.
EMDR Therapy is used to resolve traumatic memories, such as those related to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse as well as traumatic events such as car accidents, injuries, illnesses, and exposure to violence. EMDR Therapy also can resolve maladaptive self-referencing beliefs (schemas), phobias, panic, migraine headaches, substance abuse, addictive patterns of behavior, unremitting grief, and shame. It is effective for adults and children.