EMDR is a scientifically established method of treatment for Post Traumatic Stress. It has been found to improve many conditions related to PTSD such as disturbing memories, nightmares, panic attacks, complicated grief, chronic pain, performance anxiety, addictions, sexual/physical abuse, stress reduction, and personality issues, just to name a few.
When someone experiences a trauma, their anxiety level is so high, that the brain cannot process the information from the trauma as it normally would. The trauma becomes "stuck " in the brain. The events and emotions of the trauma are stored as if they are still happening instead of something that happened in the past. This has lasting effects on the way a traumatized person sees the world and relates to other people.
Have you ever been told to "get a good night's sleep" before an exam? This is because REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, processes information you have studied, and stores it in the right locations in your brain to recall it when you need it. In REM sleep, your eyes move back an forth, which stimulates both sides of your brain. During EMDR, we simulate this stimulation of both sides of your brain in order to process the trauma. After successful EMDR, people remember the trauma but no longer feel they are re-living it, and feel detached from the distressing emotions that were associated with it. They are able to see the trauma with new information and in a different light.
What is the processing phase of EMDR like? Processing of the trauma using side to side stimulation of the brain is called "bilateral stimulation." This can be done with eye movements, tapping side to side, tones, or buzzers held in each hand that alternate sides. During bilateral stimulation, you are not hypnotized nor unconscious. You are in full control of the session and may take a break at any time. You are also not required to talk about the trauma during processing.
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