EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an exciting and powerful therapy which targets distressing experiences that have become stuck in the brain and body. This approach is guided by the adaptive information processing (AIP) system, which is like the immune system for your mind. When it’s working well, it’s akin to your body’s ability to fight disease. The adaptive processing information system can help you respond to events that are emotionally disturbing in healthy ways. This system allows you to take in information through your senses, and integrate new experiences with past experiences. If everything is working well and the system is not overwhelmed, it allows you to be make thoughtful, resourceful, and proactive meaning from life experiences.
In the same way your body can be overwhelmed by an illness, your adaptive information processing system can be overwhelmed by a traumatic life experience, or a series of experiences. The memory of these experiences remains undigested, stored in the mind and body, and can be unknowingly triggered by current events or experiences. Originally developed for use in addressing traumatic experiences, EMDR has been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety, grief, panic attacks, and negative beliefs carried from many different experiences.
EMDR assists clients in processing distressing memories and beliefs that have overwhelmed the adaptive information processing system. Studies show that EMDR has a direct effect on how the brain processes information, and following successful treatment you may no longer relive the images, sensations, and feelings of the stressful event. The memory is still there, but your relationship to it and what you believe about yourself in light of the past event has changed. By processing and moving through the distressing experience, unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that seemed deeply ingrained and impossible to overcome are transformed. EMDR can allow you to connect with yourself at a deeper level of understanding. Clearing up the past frees up choices for the future.
There is more information about this dynamic form of therapy here: www.emdria.org, or feel free to contact me to discuss more fully.