EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a powerful and effective therapy originally developed to treat debilitating symptoms of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) resulting from traumatic or disturbing life experiences. 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 challenges in life such as anxiety, stage fright, to enhance performance, or to cultivate inner resources.
Rationale - 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 resulting disturbing memory to be stored fragmentally in its original forms in the memory networks. As time goes by, these fragmented memories can be activated unexpectedly through normal sensory stimulation, which can cause a person to re-experience parts of the traumas and interfere with their normal functioning. Such person is said to have experienced (parts of) PTSD symptoms.
EMDR therapy is designed to facilitate the processing of such distressing memory and to free the person from the captivity of past traumas. In a therapy session, a therapist helps their clients activate a disturbing memory by evoking the related emotions, cognition, bodily sensation, and imagery. A bilateral stimulation is then applied to help accelerate information processing and facilitate the integration of the traumatic experiences into normal memory networks.