Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an evidenced-based therapy approach. EMDR helps people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue(s) or completing homework between sessions. Rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue(s), EMDR allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. The amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (area of brain associated with learning and memory), and the prefrontal cortex (higher level thinking).
Although traumatic experiences can be processed adaptively, other times we need help to understand and integrate what we have experienced. When we struggle to process traumatic events our bodies can go into fight, flight, or freeze instincts. As such, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions associated with that event may create an a feeling of being frozen in the past. EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.
For more information on EMDR, click here.