Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is an evidence-based and extensively researched psychotherapy. Although initially researched as a treatment for PTSD, EMDR has been shown to be effective for a variety of struggles including, but not limited to anxiety, depression, disordered eating, addiction, abuse, attachment wounds, and grief.
Our brains are amazing and have an innate ability to adaptively process information. When we experience trauma or stress, often our brains will manage and resolve the events spontaneously. But sometimes, our experiences get stuck if they are not processed effectively. In essence, for some reason, the processing gets blocked and the information becomes “frozen in time”. What fires together, wires together in our neural pathways. If those pathways get blocked, new and more adaptive learning cannot take place. Those memories may be encoded with the emotions, beliefs and physical sensations experienced at the time of the event or trauma. It’s why we understand trauma to be less about WHAT happened and more about HOW our brains digested the experience.
How does this show up in our day-to-day functioning? Simply put, when we have a strong reaction to something in our present (an argument with our partner sends us into a panic attack), it knocks our rational brain offline and our emotional brain responds (because that disappointed look creates the same physical response that we experienced when our intoxicated parent would respond to us as a child). We KNOW that the experiences are different but we can’t stop ourselves from reacting in that way. EMDR helps your brain process or digest the traumatic event/experience in an adaptive way and allows for the natural healing that our brains are wired to do.
Below are some videos you may find helpful.