EMDR stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” It is a unique way of resolving trauma memories through the use of eye movements. Everyone in the trauma field recognizes EMDR as the most effective way to resolve trauma. It was originally developed to go after things like car accidents, natural disasters, assaults, and the like. We call these “single incident traumas” because the work involves removing the negative emotional content from the memory of the traumatic event. EMDR is hands down the best tool for this kind of trauma.
EMDR has expanded and been adapted over the years to be a very effective component in resolving developmental trauma, sometimes known as complex trauma. With this kind of trauma, the trauma is chronic and may occur over a number of years, such as with childhood abuse or neglect.
There are many other advantages of using EMDR for resolving trauma. The most impressive benefit of EMDR is that it is fast! After proper preparation, most trauma memories can be fully reprocessed in one to three sessions. With standard talk therapy approaches, this can take months or even years, if it is successful at all. EMDR has a better than 90% success rate, which is unheard of in the world of therapy.
Another benefit of EMDR is that there is not much talking. We allow the deeper levels of the mind to do all the work. It does not involve analysis or problem solving in a conscious way. With EMDR, we simply present information to your mind in combination with eye movements, and your mind will move this traumatic information in the direction of healing and resolution as we allow the EMDR process to unfold. We don’t go into explanations or descriptions of the events. This is not necessary. Many people find that this is a big plus, since talking about these events can be difficult. For this reason, as a rule, EMDR is well tolerated, especially if any initial necessary prep work has been done using neurofeedback.