What is EMDR?
November 28, 2023

The whole realm of mental health continues to have innovative and new therapies emerge every year. For those grappling with trauma, anxiety and emotional problems, people frequently look for a quick fix or at least something that will turn down the “volume” of their emotions. EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, offers a way to understand healing from a unique perspective.

Developed in the 80s, EMDR offers a way to bring up disturbing memories, reprocess them with bilateral stimulation (eye movements, tapping, etc.) and then put the memory back in the hopes that it is less intense than at the start. EMDR is based on the notion that eye movements, similar to other activities that engage your working memory, can desensitize the intensity that memories have on us. The therapy takes advantage of the fact that your brain can change aspects of that memory every time you remember something, especially when it is purposeful. Doing this within the confines of therapy allows people to change aspects of the memory (reduce intense emotions, add positive beliefs about yourself) so that it is not as disturbing anymore, but not entirely getting rid of the memory.

EMDR should offer a beacon of hope to those who may have tried other therapies and are still left with the sting of their past. It has been recommended by the American Psychological Association and the World Health Organization. It can allow people to be curious about healing differently.