EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-based method of treatment for working to support healing from symptoms and distress resulting from traumatic, disturbing life experiences. These can be one time life threatening events (e.g., car accident, witnessing violence) or they can be multiple experiences of trauma, described as developmental or complex trauma (e.g., neglect, abuse, loss, birth trauma, caregiver misattunement, etc). (see https://www.traumaandbeyondcenter.com/trauma/).
EMDR has been shown to help the mind “heal” more rapidly and more fully than other types of non-trauma based psychotherapies. EMDR uses the brains information processing system to help an individual move towards healing by removing blocks in the system that stop healing from occurring and activate the brain’s natural healing processes. (http://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/). EMDR healing has been shown to help increase sense of safety and capacity to form close relationships.
EMDR uses “bilateral stimulation” whether that is eye movements or tapping or sound or touch sensors, it is movement that crosses from the left to right hemispheres. This type of movement has been shown to be both calming and integrative. The approach has been shown to help release trapped information in the mind and body. Extensive research has shown it to be successful in all types of populations whether it is war veterans, victims of assault, or those suffering with childhood abuse. The protocol is designed to move beyond symptom reduction to support developing experiences of self-worth, joy and connection with others.
EMDR therapy protocols use the present, the past, and the future to work with disturbing memories and disturbing beliefs. There is an eight-phase treatment approach in the style of Dr. Francine Shapiro, there is a modified approach used in the Attachment Focused style (AF-EMDR) created by Dr. Laurel Parnell, which places greater emphasis on developing resources to help create neuronal pathways where they may be weak or non-existent to repair developmental deficits, and greater emphasis on the integration through therapist/client verbal and non-verbal interactions. (http://parnellemdr.com/emdr-and-af-emdr/)
Dr. Parnell states that, “…as we are able to drop into a place of silence and really listen to our own quiet voice and that of our clients, relational healing takes place.” (http://parnellemdr.com/emdr-and-af-emdr/)