This acronym stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” This integrative psychotherapy approach has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced moderate to severe trauma which remains unresolved. When a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms leaving the memory and associated stimuli unprocessed and stored in an isolated memory network.
The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories, reducing their lingering effects and allowing clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. The therapist assists the client through an 8- step protocol that includes having the client recall distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input including side to side eye movements. This therapy was originally developed to treat adults suffering from PTSD, however, it is also used to treat other conditions of stress, anxiety and grief.