Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro, that was designed to alleviate the distress associated with trauma experiences and memories. It has recently also been applied to overcoming other types of anxiety disorders and symptoms. When a person experiences a distressing or traumatising event, the brain may not process this information as it does ordinarily. One moment or a series of moments can become ‘frozen’ and when these memories are brought up in the future, they can be experienced as if they were happening in the here and now. People may re experience images, sounds, smells and feelings relating to the traumatic events.
EMDR works on trying to unblock the trauma experiences and help the individual process the information naturally and aid in the integration of that information. It does so by using bilateral stimulation (eye movements similar to those in REM sleep – which is when we tend to process information/ experiences).
These experiences and memories can have a lasting and negative effect on how the individual functions, experiences the world and relates to other people. More recently EMDR has been shown to be effective in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, chronic pain, survivors of early childhood abuse and complicated grief. The treatment occurs in 8 stages/ phases, and the length of treatment will be dependant on the complexity of the trauma experiences.