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Marta Hatter, LCSW | Article

Discover EMDR

5/2/2012
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach, well researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To learn about the development and history of EMDR see http://www.emdr.com/ and http://emdria.org/.

We do not yet know how psychotherapy works neurobiologically, in the brain. We do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it usually does. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as distinct as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that may interfere with a person’s perspective and the way they relate to others.
Trauma Therapy

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Following successful EMDR therapy normal information processing is resumed. A person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less disturbing. EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally diring dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person view disturbing material in a new and less distressing way. Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post-traumatic stress. Clinicians have also reported success using EMDR for the following conditions:

Panic attacks, phobias
Grief, disturbing memories
Pain disorders
Eating disorders, body image problems
Performance anxiety, stress reduction
Addictions
Sexual and/or physical abuse
Stress and anxiety issues often respond well to EMDR;
Difficulty trusting others
Being attracted to people who just aren’t good for you
Feeling guilty without knowing why
A history of being physically or emotionally abused as a child
Self-blame, self-consciousness, shame or guilt
Chronic or excessive anger, sadness
Worry, anxiety, obsessive thinking
Unpleasant feeling, mood swings
Negativity, pessimism, irritability

An amazing benefit of EMDR, in addition to reducing distress is Peak Performance treatment. Please see my Peak Performance article. This treatment specialty can relieve those with performance anxiety and free them to move toward their potential. EMDR offers great hope!