Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that result from disturbing life experiences. The success of this treatment approach over the past 26 years has challenged the long-held belief that it takes many years to recover from anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, and post traumatic stress. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and its capacity to bring lasting relief for many types of emotional distress in a very efficient manner. Extensive scientific research has established that EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
In understanding this therapy, it is useful to think that individuals have a "digestive system" for emotional experiences just as they do to for the food they eat. Trauma or intensely disturbing emotional experiences can arrest this digestive system so that people feel locked in these events despite rationally understanding that the experiences are in the past. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation of the brain (alternating eye movements across the visual field, alternating tactile stimulation) while a client recalls the disturbing event and the attendant negative beliefs that have resulted from it. This bilateral stimulation re-engages this emotional digestive capacity, the brain's information processing system, to free itself of blockages in order to function optimally. As troubling memories, thoughts and feelings are processed by the brain, resolution of these events and a more peaceful state are achieved.
While no treatment is 100 percent effective for all participants, research on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing has reported the following positive therapeutic results:
* Combat veterans no longer experienced flashbacks, or nightmares.
* People with phobias and panic disorders experienced a rapid reduction of fear and symptoms.
* Crime survivors and police officers were no longer disturbed by the after effects of violent assaults.
* Individuals have been relieved of excessive grief due to the loss of a loved one.
* Children have become symptom-free from trauma of assault or natural disaster.
* Sexual assault survivors were able to lead normal lives and develop intimate relationships.
* Accident and burn survivors who were debilitated have been able to resume productive lives.
* Individuals with sexual dysfunction have been able to maintain healthy sexual relationships.
* Clients with chemical dependency have a decreased tendency to relapse and show signs of stable recovery.
The research on EMDR therapy has indicated that the effects remain stable over time.
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