Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is an effective treatment for trauma and other distressful experiences such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, complicated grief, childhood abuse, disturbing memories, and chronic pain. EMDR affects how the brain processes troubling and traumatic memories. When a person experiences a distressful and traumatic experience, the sympathetic nervous system can override the brain’s natural ability to heal leading individuals to feel ‘stuck’, anxious, and/or depressed. During the EMDR process, the brain re-processes the distressful experience in a way that leads the individual to remember the memory or event but with less disturbance; ultimately desensitizing individuals to what was once a troubling memory and leading to symptom relief.
EMDR reprocesses negative beliefs about the self and replaces them with adaptive beliefs. For example, after a difficult experience of any kind, it is natural to develop negative beliefs about ourselves such as: “I should have done something”, “I am not enough”, “I am powerless”, “I cannot trust anyone”, “I am not worthy.” EMDR can shift these negative beliefs to beliefs such as, “I did the best I could”, “I am worthy of love and belonging”, “I am resilient and empowered”, “I can decide who I trust, there are trustworthy people.”