When an upsetting, scary or painful experience happens, sometimes the memory of the experience stays "stuck" or "frozen" in the mind and body. The experience may return in a distressing and intrusive way and the person may cope by avoiding everything associated with the upsetting experience.
Bilateral stimulation or right-left tracking is used during treatment to engage the person's own healing ability to process the disturbing memory in order to get it "unstuck" or resolved in an adaptive and positive manner. The right-left tracking may take the form of eye movements, tones or music delivered to each ear, or tactile stimulation, such as alternating hand taps.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so 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. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be 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.
In 1987, psychologist Francine Shapiro had discovered, developed and studied this therapy scientifically. Since then, there has been contributions from other therapists and researchers all over the world. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. EMDR has also been discovered to be effective in treating not only trauma and PTSD but other psychological conditions as well.
As a therapist certified in EMDR, I have successfully treated individuals for depression, panic attacks, performance anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, disturbing/traumatic memories, sexual and/or physical abuse, injuries and accidents, phobias, and stress reduction.
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