EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It mimics the
brains natural way of reprocessing trauma by encouraging eye movements similar to
those that occur during REM sleep. When people are traumatised, they may experience
such strong emotions the brain is overwhelmed. As a result, the brain is unable to
cope with or process information as it does ordinarily. Distressing experiences become
'frozen in time'. They are stored in the brain in the original 'raw' form and can
recur as 'action replays' or intrusive memories. The person repeatedly relives the
original unpleasant event(s). Remembering a trauma may feel as bad as experiencing
it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven't changed.
Such memories have a lasting negative effect on the way people see themselves, the
world and other people. It can affect parts or all of their lives, including their
ability to work or study.
Following successful EMDR treatment, memories of the event are no longer painful
when brought to mind. What happened can still be recalled, but it is less upsetting.
EMDR can be thought of as an inherently natural therapy which assists the brain in
working through distressing material.
Research studies have shown that EMDR can markedly accelerate the healing process
after a traumatic experience and that the effects are long-lasting. EMDR is highly
effective, preferred by clients and generally of shorter duration than other treatment