EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This type of treatment is often used with people who have experienced trauma. It is effective with both everyday traumatic events and extreme, complex trauma.
When a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. EMDR seems to stimulate the information and allows the brain to reprocess the experience. This may be similar to what happens during REM or dream sleep. The eye movements can help to reprocess the traumatic material. Your brain does the healing and you are the one in control.
If you are having nightmares or flashbacks, or are having trouble getting a disturbing picture out of your head, EMDR may be able to help.
How does EMDR work?
I use eye movements (you follow my fingers in a horizontal line with your eyes) to help you unlock the memory and reprocess it so that it is no longer a sensitive memory for you. I have you rate the memory on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is neutral and 10 is extremely disturbing. We continue to use this scale throughout the EMDR process as one way to assess your progress. At each session I will ask you to rate how disturbing the memory is for you now. This is because EMDR allows your brain to heal itself, meaning that the processing and healing can continue between sessions. You may be in a different place at the next session than you were at the close of the previous session. We continue to process the memory until it is no longer bothersome to you.
Am I going to be hypnotized?
No. EMDR is not hypnosis. You will be aware and present during sessions, and not in an altered state of consciousness.