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EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy which was originally developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in the late 1980’s for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There have been 24 randomized control studies of EMDR therapy which attest to its value and demonstrate its usefulness across all ages, genders, and cultures. Tens of thousands of clinicians have been trained all over the world in EMDR therapy and studies have supported the use of EMDR with many special populations with an assortment of conditions such as Acute Stress Disorder due to Recent Incident trauma or disasters, personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, performance anxiety, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, addictions, chronic pain, sexual and/or physical abuse, ADHD, and body dysmorphic disorders, just to name a few.
EMDR has been accepted as an effective form of treatment by several major health organizations including most recently the WHO (World Health Organization). It is listed as an evidenced–based practice by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) and NREPP (National Registry of Evidenced Based Practices and Programs) and the VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guidelines (2004, 2010) recognize EMDR as being a “A” category (the highest level designation) for treatment of trauma.
EMDR is an eight-phase treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies.
Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive. EMDR is a physiologically–based therapy that appears to be similar to what occurs naturally in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and seems to have a direct effect on the way our brain processes and stores information.
The Adaptive Information Processing Model is the guiding principle of the EMDR approach and it postulates that health and wellbeing is supported by positive and successful experiences that increasingly prepare a person to handle new challenges and that the brain is equipped to manage and process adversity. Sometimes it just needs a little help.
“EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.”
(Francine Shapiro, EMDR .com)