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What is EMDR

EMDR – the new treatment of choice for trauma, phobia’s & fears

EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing - is a fairly new therapy which has proved to be effective in helping people who have had traumatic or distressing experiences.  It has also proved effective with phobias and other fears and anxiety.

Why some memories are different

Whenever we experience something the information we receive through our senses is processed along with our impressions and interpretations of that event, and then stored in our brains.  But when something happens which we experience as threatening or disturbing we respond differently.  When the threat response is activated the information about that event is stored in a different part of the brain, without going through the normal memory processing.

These distressing memories seem to be ‘frozen’ in the brain in their ‘raw’ (unprocessed) form.  When they are recalled they can be as vivid and as distressing as when they were when first experienced, and may even come back in the form of flashbacks or nightmares. 

How EMDR can help

EMDR is a radical new approach which helps the brain process these frozen traumatic memories.  It is still unclear how it works, but it involves alternating left-right stimulation of the brain while the person simultaneously recalls the specific memory.  This bilateral stimulation seems to encourage the transformation of a distressing ‘raw’ memory into an ordinary ‘processed’ memory.  Some people have suggested that it simulates normal REM sleep, in which the eyes move from side to side on their own accord.  continued

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