EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is an effective treatment for trauma and other distressful experiences such as: anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, complicated bereavement, disturbing memories, and chronic pain. EMDR affects how the brain processes troubling, painful, and traumatic memories. When a person experiences a distressful and traumatic experience, the sympathetic nervous system can override the brain’s natural ability to heal leading individuals to feel ‘stuck’, anxious, and/or depressed. During the EMDR process, the brain re-processes the distressful experience in a way that leads the individual to remember the memory or event but with less disturbance; ultimately desensitizing individuals to what was once a troubling memory and leading to symptom relief.
EMDR reprocesses negative beliefs about the self and replaces them with positive beliefs. For example, after a difficult experience of any kind, as humans it is natural to develop negative beliefs about ourselves such as: “I should have done something”, “I’m not enough”, “I am powerless”, “I cannot trust anyone”.
During EMDR therapy, clients are able to transform these negative beliefs into beliefs that are more valid such as:
“I should have done something” → “I did the best I could”
“I am not enough” → “I’m okay as I am”
“I am powerless” → “I now have choices”
“I cannot trust anyone” → “I can choose whom to trust”
EMDR gives you the opportunity to “get past your past” in order to live fully in the present moment without being triggered by past experiences and beliefs that no longer serve you.