We all encounter traumas in our lives, some of us experience small traumas, some of us experience catastrophic traumas and we will all react differently and process them differently. Past traumas can manifest into all types of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, addiction, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) etc. In counselling we are often presented with the symptoms of trauma and working directly with the trauma itself is an effective way of eliminating the symptoms. One of the ways in working directly with trauma is by using EMDR, which is an acronym for ‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’.
EMDR is a powerful psychological treatment for working with trauma, it was developed in the 1980’s by Francine Shapiro. When someone has experienced a traumatic event, they can feel overwhelmed and the brain is unable to process the memory. This can create flashbacks and people can feel as though they are re-experiencing traumatic events if they get triggered.
EMDR uses an alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps to stimulate the frozen or blocked information processing system. The process diminishes the intensity of the distressing memories and makes them more like ordinary memories, which is similar to the effect that occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes move quickly from side to side.