Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment or a psychological treatment method, developed by American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s. The therapy is a popular way of treatment used to recover from distressing and disturbing life experiences that result in flashbacks, upsetting thoughts or images, depression, PTSD or anxiety. When a person has had a traumatic experience in past, which the brain denies to forget becomes overwhelming for many people out there. That memory gets stuck in the brain and feels like a vivid re-experience. And, EMDR has proven to be a help to divert the minds of the patients from that distressing memory by ‘unsticking’ it and reprocessing it.
A wealth of research has been conducted to demonstrate the benefits of EMDR in treating psychological trauma arising from experiences as diverse as war-related experiences, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, surgical trauma, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents. EMDR has been found to be of benefit to both children as well as adults.
Researchers from Harvard believe that the process which occurs in mind during EMDR is more or less similar to that of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, in which eyes move hastily from side to side. EMDR is effective because of the distraction in the brain during the thought of the traumatic experience. The memory tends to become less vivid and slowly starts to fade away, helping the patient to become less attached and distant from that incident. EMDR is a treatment that involves eight phases. The past is focused first, the disturbing memory is decided to target and then the eye movements are tracked. Patients undergoing EMDR therapy to address their disturbing memories claim that they feel more empowered and transformed.