"EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) provides a way for people to free themselves of destructive memories and it seems to work, even in cases where years of conventional therapy have failed." - Hugh Downs, 20/20, ABC News
What is EMDR? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is an integrative psychotherapy approach that combines elements of psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, and body-centered therapies to help people heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. EMDR has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma, anxiety, phobias, depression, and other psychological stressors.
During an EMDR session, my clients focus on a disturbing past issue or event, calling to mind what was seen, heard, felt, thought etc., and I facilitate the directional movement of the eyes. As the session begins clients become more aware of the feelings and thoughts surrounding past events while simultaneously making the rapid eye movements. Sets of eye movements will continue until the memory becomes less disturbing and replaced with healthy thoughts and beliefs about their past.
Does it work? More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on the effectiveness of EMDR. Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. In a study funded by Kaiser Permanente, 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. EMDR therapy is recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense.