What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful method of psychotherapy.
To date, EMDR has helped an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress.
HOW WAS EMDR DEVELOPED?
In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers all over the world. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.
HOW DOES EMDR WORK?
No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
WHAT IS THE ACTUAL EMDR SESSION LIKE?
HOW LONG DOES EMDR TAKE?
A typical EMDR session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR may be used within a standard “talking” therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
BUT DOES EMDR REALLY WORK?
Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR. These studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients. Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety. The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress. EMDR was also found effective by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health, and many other international health and governmental agencies. Research has also shown that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment. For further references, a bibliography of research may be found through EMDR International Association's web site, www.emdria.org.
WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS CAN EMDR TREAT?
- personality disorders
- panic attacks
- complicated grief
- dissociative disorders
- disturbing memories
- pain disorders
- eating disorders
- performance anxiety
- stress reduction
- sexual and/or physical abuse
- body dysmorphic disorders
What is the EMDR International Association?
EMDRIA is the ongoing support system for EMDR trained practitioners and provides the mechanism for the continued development of EMDR in a professional manner. Through EMDRIA, practitioners have access to the latest clinical information and research data on EMDR.