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More on EMDR therapy for trauma

"Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference" 

(EMDR Institute Inc)

EMDR stands for "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing".  Developed in 1987 by Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist who discovered that spontaneous eye movements can desensitize traumatic memories. 

One of the phases of EMDR therapy involves alternating eye movements whilst the traumatic memory is held in mind.  This is known as holding 'dual attention' during a process of 'bilateral stimulation'.  This is suggested to replicate the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep phase where it is proposed memories and feelings are effectively processed by the brain. 

EMDR theory proposes that traumatic memories can be maladaptively stored in the brain stopping them from being fully processed and so they intrude into daily life.  Often described as a mental blockage - but once the block is removed natural healing can resume.  EMDR is believed to stimulate the brains natural information processing system.

Another interesting phase of EMDR therapy follows the treatment of the distressing memory network. Using the same principles described above, a more positive and helpful self belief can be established in its place.

Now, packaged into a comprehensive eight phase therapeutic model, EMDR can be used as a single treatment or integrated into a fuller psychotherapy programme.

A key advantage of EMDR, unlike other forms of therapy, is that the client does not have to share all of the details of the trauma with the therapist.  When the client finds the subject matter to be of a particularly sensitive, personal or embarrassing nature this can be of great relief.

 

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