EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, is a therapeutic process to decrease or eliminate anxiety.
It was created by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987 for the treatment of PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It has evolved to treat many kinds of anxiety, trauma and other disorders since its inception. It is an extremely useful process to convert negative beliefs to more positive, adaptive beliefs.
EMDR uses alternating, bilateral stimulation of eyes, touch or hearing as directed by a therapist to:
- focus on a problem, negative belief about self or past trauma
- identify the desired change, outcome or positive belief
- reduce anxiety
- access psychological resource states that embody emotional, spiritual, experiential, historical, cultural and educational strengths
- change thoughts, perceptions and/or beliefs about the experience
The alternating, bilateral stimulation (ABS) can be saccadic eye movements, tones or touch, or combination of these stimulations. The ABS increases the neurological transmission of electrical impulses from one hemisphere of the brain to the other hemisphere across the midline of the brain. This results in the problem or trauma being processed differently with access to more of the individual’s psychological, emotional and spiritual resources.
Use of EMDR dramatically speeds up the change process by significantly reducing or eliminating anxiety. This permits the person to find a more optimal or healthier view of the experience.
Wikipedia has an extensive article on the use of EMDR with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
“The speed at which change occurs during EMDR contradicts the traditional notion of time as essential for psychological healing."
Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Boston University School of Medicine
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