What is EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the healing benefits of psychotherapy more quickly than other traditional approaches.
The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. Much as the body is able to recover from physical trauma, EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma. If this process is prevented or blocked because of the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and often causes intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
One of the theories hypothesized to impact the treatment effects of EMDR is related to the way EMDR mimics the process that takes place during the REM cycle of sleep, helping the brain to organize information and events in an adaptive way that works to resolve disturbance. The back-and-forth eye movements also create a calming effect by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, thereby relaxing the sympathetic nervous system that is responsible for the flight, fight or freeze response.
There are many more hypotheses about what exactly fosters such rapid resolution of trauma symptoms during EMDR. Nevertheless, it is evident that EMDR therapy seems to expedite the resolution of symptoms associated with disturbing life events in what is usually a shorter duration of therapy.