Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy (Shapiro, 2001) was initially developed in 1987 for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . The way in which we process our experiences and form memories can be affected by our emotional and physical states. In traumatic events the experience may not be processed completely and could store disturbing feelings and sensations along with the memory that can cause symptoms of PTSD or other disorders.
This Adaptive Information Processing model (Shapiro 2007) can be applied to other areas of our experiences and EMDR can benefit many people in the way we reprocess disturbing events. Unlike other models of therapy that focus on altering the emotions and thoughts around traumatic experiences, EMDR therapy focuses directly on the memory, and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, thereby reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms and reactions.
During EMDR therapy processing is stimulated by eye movements or other left-right stimulation like tapping or sounds/tones. The memory does not alter but the vividness and emotion of the memory are reduced.
The treatment is endorsed by NICE/NHS and can be very effective in the treatment of a variety of mental health issues not limited to PTSD or Trauma.
Research has shown EMDR to be effective in treating , Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorders, Phobias, OCD, Chronic Pain, Complex Grief, Low Self Esteem, Complex Trauma and PTSD.
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