Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)


What is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and unresolved traumatic life experiences. It uses a structured approach to address past, present, and future aspects of disturbing memories. Please see the following link for additional information: (http://www.emdr.com/general-information/what-is-emdr.html)

The theory is that EMDR works directly with memory networks and enhances information processing by forging associations between the distressing memory and more adaptive information contained in other semantic memory networks. It is thought that the distressing memory is transformed when new connections are forged with more positive and realistic information. This results in a transformation of the emotional, sensory, and cognitive components of the memory so that, when it is accessed, the individual is no longer distressed. Instead he/she recalls the incident with a new perspective, new insight, resolution of the cognitive distortions, elimination of emotional distress, and relief of related physiological arousal. EMDR was developed as a treatment for traumatic memories and research has demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of PTSD. The most effective component of EMDR therapy is the exposure component and not the finger waving. A 2007 meta-analysis of 38 randomized controlled trials for PTSD treatment suggested that the first-line psychological treatment for PTSD should be Trauma-Focused CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or EMDR. (Bisson, J. I, Psychological treatments for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder: Systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2007).

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