Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing - EMDR

EMDR is a therapy, developed in the late 80s in the US, which was first used with combat veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR reached its gold standard helping trauma victims of the Oklahoma bombing and the Dunblane, Scotland school massacre. It continues to be widely used in all trauma events.

EMDR was quickly found to be useful in eliminating symptoms associated with stress and trauma from PTSD, symptoms like flashbacks, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety and phobias. Also, it was found to be very effective in alleviating ALL symptoms of stress, including depression, over-reactive anger, worry, anxiety, disturbed sleep and grief.

Although EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, it is not directly related to the eyes, but to brain functioning. It is believed that EMDR re-processes trauma similarly to how REM (rapid eye movement) sleep restores and heals.

How it works: Trauma happens first to the body but at times gets stuck in the limbic (emotional, fight/flight) centre of the brain where it does not have sufficient access to the cerebral cortex (our organizational & information-processing brain centre). Stuck trauma (little "t" or big "T") causes distressful mental, emotional, physical pain and suffering.

EMDR utilizes a pulse, beat, tap, or back and forth eye movements, in a well-structured EMDR session with specific therapist verbal prompts to engage the brains own healing mechanisms. Stored unpleasant memories, that create negative symptoms, are unlocked, de-sensitized and adaptively processed. Ultimately we are at peace with the previous upset and are able to say, "That was bad but Im okay now."

EMDR has been studied extensively and has been validated and regulated by governmental bodies in the US and around the world. To find out more about EMDR go to EMDR Canada or EMDR International Association.

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