Introduction - EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a powerful and effective therapy tool originally developed to treat debilitating symptoms of PTSD* (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) caused by traumatic or disturbing life events. Traumatic experiences include, but are not limited to, sexual trauma, physical abuse, combat related terror, car accidents, exposure to natural disasters, and loss of loved ones. In recent years, EMDR therapy has also been used to help manage various life challenges such as anxiety, depression, stage fright, to enhance performance, and to cultivate one's inner resources.
How traumas affect us - The human body possesses a natural ability to process and integrate normal external information and life experiences. At times, however, extremely upsetting or traumatic experiences may overwhelm such processes and cause the trauma-related disturbing memory to be stored fragmentally in its original forms in the memory networks. As time goes by, these fragmented memories can be activated/triggered unexpectedly through normal sensory or bodily stimuli, which can then lead to re-experiencing of the traumas and interfere one's daily functioning. Unfortunately, an individual's effort to avoide such triggers only serves to limit their ability to be present in and to enjoy life.
Treatment - EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation to activate both sides of the brain while bringing trauma-related images, emotions, bodily sensations, and cognition into conscious attention. As the traumatic memory is being reprocessed and integrated into one's normal memory networks, the person gradually becomes desensitized to various triggers and memories. The traumatic experience/stress can often be resolved.
* Childhood abuse may leads to complex PTSD.