Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or EMDR Therapy) is a therapy used for helping a client deal with memories of events and old beliefs that are still bothering them. When we are carrying around memories or beliefs as if they are still true, even though we logically know that they are no longer something that serve us, we are usually subconsciously acting as if they are still true and it is affecting our behavior. This may mean we are avoiding situations, conversations, or not taking action on achieving a dream or goal. EMDR is a way for a client to look at the memory or belief in the safety of a therapeutic environment, bringing in the current wisdom and life experiences, and processing the memory or belief so that it can be integrated into the brain without the emotional hooks. We remember that something happened without the memory of it causing distress. When an event occurs during a stressful situation, the brain doesn't always have the ability to fully process the event and integrate it into memory. This may leave it not fully processed or integrated and we may carry it around as if it's still true. This can lead to us applying maladaptive responses to every day life events, responses that are out of proportion to the current life event. EMDR is the brain going through the normal stages of evaluating and process an event that still causes distress (because it was not fully processed at the time of the event) so that the brain can heal itself.

EMDR can be used to work on past trauma, abuse, anxiety, phobias,  and pain. There are many ways that EMDR has been used successfully in a therapeutic environment and EMDR is a heavily researched therapy. EMDR was recently presented at one of two recommended treatments for trauma by the World Health Organization (along with Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). EMDR is used in many VA hospitals and clinics to help veterans to deal with the traumas of war. EMDR is frequently used to help clients with living through childhood abuse, natural disasters, and phobias. EMDR can also be used to help develop confidence in dealing with future events.

If you are interested in EMDR, we can discuss it further. You can also look through the EMDR International Association's website.

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