What is EMDR therapy?
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was developed by Francine Shapiro back in the ‘90’s. She reportedly discovered it through her own experience of noticing that she moved her eyes back-and-forth while she was effectively resolving her feelings about a particular problem. This triggered years of research and development, and now her EMDR therapy is being utilized world-wide as an effective treatment for major and minor trauma. The therapy uses some type of bi-lateral stimulation (it could be assisting a back-and-forth motion of the eyes, auditory attention or tactile sensation) as a way a minor but effective distraction. This distraction allows us to stay aware of the present moment while also accessing previously overrwhelming experiences so that they can be effectively processed. And, that processing happens spontaneously and naturally. EMDR is founded on the capacity of the human system to heal and regulate itself, given the right opportunity.
Why process previously overwhelming experiences?
Simply put, past events that have not been effectively processed intrude on our present day lives in many ways. If you have ever been surprised by, or felt frustrated with, your emotional, physical, behavioral, or cognitive reactions in your everyday life (and really, who hasn't?), you are likely dealing with troubling past events that have not been fully processed. EMDR (Eye-movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and other somatic-mindfulness approaches are effective “shortcuts” for getting at the beliefs and feelings that words can't yet reach. EMDR therapy in the way that I have been trained is designed to not only address major traumas related to PTSD, but also the ordinary traumas we have all experienced in our lives, no matter how far in the past.
What EMDR is NOT
EMDR is not hypnosis and it is not mindcontrol. In fact, you, the recipient, are in absolute control of the entire experience. One of the most delightful aspects of this therapy for me is that I don’t know where it’s going to go, I’m not trying to direct anything! The human capacity for self-healing and regulation is remarkable and creative. Like I stated above, EMDR is founded on the understanding that when we are feeling truly safe and appreciated, our system will regulate itself.