Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is primarily thought of as a trauma based therapy. However, throughout the years it has shown to be effective for many issues including depression and anxiety. EMDR can be used with both children and adults. It focuses on desensitizing an individual from traumatic or highly impacting events.
EMDR also contains a cognitive therapy component. When a traumatic event happens to an individual, it changes their intrinsic value of self. They develop messages about themselves; messages such as “I am helpless”, “I have no control” or “I am worthless”. These messages manifest themselves in harmful ways throughout a person’s life. EMDR not only targets the traumatic events and images, but also these negative self messages.
Once the images and negative self message have been identified the person focuses on an EMDR light machine. The individual effortlessly follows the lights back and forth with their eyes for approximately 60-90 seconds. The counselor stops the light machine and asks what they are visualizing. This process is repeated throughout the ninety minute session until a peaceful resolution is achieve. EMDR is based on the fact that each person has the answers within themselves, that each person can empower themselves to achieve success.
EMDR is more nonverbal than general “talk” therapy. This is beneficial for someone who has experienced severe abuse and has a difficult time talking about the abuse or for an individual with high anxiety.
EMDR is a short term treatment and can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches. If you are already seeing a therapist and they are not trained in EMDR, it is common practice to work with an EMDR therapist simultaneously.
We encourage you to research EMDR in order to more fully understand the therapeutic process. If you have further questions about EMDR please refer to emdr.com.