EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapeutic approach used to help children, adolescents and adults to recover from the after effects of trauma.
When a person is traumatised, the brain healing process may become overloaded, leaving the original disturbing experiences unprocessed. These “raw” memories are stored in the brain and can continue to cause trouble when current events trigger memories of the trauma causing distress from flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, panic, and other emotional and physical symptoms, and impeding the person moving on in their lives (for an easy to read and visual explanation of trauma click here).
EMDR is a complex method of psychotherapy that integrates many of the successful elements of a range of therapeutic approaches, combining them with eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation (e.g. hand tappings, light bars, tactile devices, etc.) in ways which seem to stimulate the brain’s information processing system (for further information about EMDR and research see EMDR.org.uk and for an EMDR client handout click here).
EMDR has been used successfully with a wide range of other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, phobias, Obssessive Compulsive Disorder, and many more. For a comprehensive list of EMDR publications please refer to Francine Shaphiro’s library at emdr.nku.edu. Check out these short videos EMDR for children and adolescents and How EMDR works? Look at this animation.