EMDR is a therapy which was initially developed to help people process trauma. During EMDR we use some form of non-intrusive bilateral stimulation such as side to side eye movements, left to right hand tapping, self tapping in order to stimulate the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This helps to integrate our thoughts and emotions about the trauma which can become separated as a result of this trauma.
An example of this split between emotions and thoughts is that following a road traffic incident, for example, we may have believed that we would not survive. This belief of being in danger, being unsafe, that we could die imminently, can remain, despite the knowledge that this is no longer the case. EMDR helps to update this. Similarly with time, people will often say that it felt as though the trauma occurred very recently, it feels very live and vivid, even if it happened years ago.
During the bilateral stimulation in EMDR we are doing something akin to REM sleep, when we process our thoughts and events from the day by creating new neural pathways to bring the left and right sides of the brain together, getting them communicating. This helps to eliminate or reduce negative beliefs such as being unsafe, responsible, bad, and create new positive beliefs about ourselves. It also helps the trauma to be in its current time frame so that it is no longer dominant in our mind.
I offer EMDR as a standalone therapy for trauma, often through insurance companies but also for people who broker their own therapy. I also use it as an adjunct to my CBT practice.
For more information about EMDR please click here.