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EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR therapy?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a mental health treatment technique. This method involves moving your eyes a specific way while you process traumatic memories. EMDR’s goal is to help you heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy involves recalling a stressful past event and “reprogramming” the memory in the light of a new, positive belief, using rapid eye movements to facilitate the process. Theories as to why EMDR works are still evolving, but many people have found EMDR to be extremely beneficial.

EMDR incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with bilateral eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. One of the key elements of EMDR is “dual stimulation.” During EMDR treatment, you are asked to think or talk about memories, triggers, and painful emotions related to your trauma or other condition. At the same time, you focus on your therapist’s finger with your eyes as it moves back and forth across your field of vision.

Instead of the therapist’s finger, other forms of external stimuli may also be used in EMDR therapy. These can include tactile sensations, such as alternating hand taps, or sounds, such as a chime that moves back and forth from ear to ear.

Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?

EMDR is best known for its effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can also be used to help treat a variety of mental health problems like depression or anxiety, especially where a difficult life event has been involved. EMDR can be useful for people who have witnessed or experienced an event like a car accident, a violent crime, sexual or emotional abuse, bullying, social humiliation, or the sudden loss of a loved one and are struggling to recover.

EMDR is suitable for adults, young people, and children. Younger children can find it difficult to fully engage with some types of talking therapies, so EMDR can be an effective, simpler alternative. 

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