EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
EMDR is a psychotherapeutic method of treating present-day distress by reprocessing memories of significant events which influence current experiences in challenging or negative ways.
Many studies have shown EMDR to be both more effective, and more efficient than traditional methods of therapy. In particular, EMDR aims to eliminate problems, rather than simply providing the tools to deal with them.
How does EMDR work?
Tai Croitoru (2014) explains the EMDR process as one of locating traumatic or significant memories that cause us distress in present-day (as a result of improper or incomplete processing in real time) and then reprocessing them. Reprocessing occurs through bilateral tracking (eye movements) which ensures engagement of both hemispheres of the brain. Once events are reprocessed, new events cease to trigger the same feelings that were experienced in the past — the negative beliefs and emotions of the past which were influencing current distress have disappeared, and so does the distress.
Who is EMDR for?
EMDR was originally developed to treat post-traumatic stress, and indeed, it has been found in numerous studies to be a very effective approach to those who have experienced trauma in the distant and/or more recent past. EMDR has since been used effectively in several other areas, including those experiencing the following:
— life crises (divorce, bereavement, etc.)
— performance challenges (public speaking, academic, athletic, relationship, etc.)
— addictions (food, shopping, smoking, alcohol, etc.)
— negative feelings that persist
— repetitive patterns that hinder personal or professional achievement
EMDR was used in the United States after 9/11, and has been used extensively to treat those affected by natural disasters and war. The method is currently recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the World Health Organization. Its founder, Francine Shapiro, is the recipient of numerous awards, including The California Psychologists Association Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievements in Psychology, and The American Psychologists Association Award for outstanding advancements in the field of trauma psychology.
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