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    What is EMDR?
    Research has established EMDR as an effective long-lasting treatment for the disturbing symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other negative symptoms.  Traumatic experiences big and small can interrupt the brain's normal  functioning and ability to process and store memories  These disturbing experiences can overwhelm the nervous system and stay "frozen" in one's memory with the original images, feelings and thoughts.  Unprocessed traumas can negatively impact one's emotional life, relationships, and overall ability to function well and thrive.  EMDR helps you reprocess traumatic memories so they are seen from a new perspective and lose their original intensity.  Guided imagery is used to create safety, and comfortable, calm, and peaceful body states for grounding.  

    EMDR uses bi-lateral stimulation of the brain with eye movements, tactile tapping, or sound to reprocess and reorganize thinking about these painful memories. With trauma, disturbing memories become locked in the right brain hemisphere as fragments with the original feelings, body sensations, sounds, smells, tastes, and thoughts, frozen in time. The bilateral stimulation integrates these memory fragments with the left brain hemisphere responsible for language, so the information can be processed into a coherent narrative.

    No one knows exactly how it works but these eye movements are likened to what occurs naturally during REM (rapid eye movement) or dream sleep.  EMDR links memories so information is processed quickly like the rapid free association that occurs during deep sleep states. There is a dual focus of being present and witnessing experiences from the past. Mindfulness is developed as you observe and notice what happens without censoring or judging.  Imagining a better resolution can quiet a hyper-stimulated nervous system.  With this dual focus of witnessing, your adult present day self can nurture, rescue, care for, comfort and protect the frightened child that may have been alone.  The limbic system responsible for the "fight"," flight", or "freeze" response is calmed so problematic triggers for symptoms like panic, recurrent nightmares, and flashbacks are resolved. 

    Processing disturbing memories with this observational stance unlocks them from the nervous system and places them in their historical past so they become less intense. Unprocessed disturbing experiences are reorganized so new information can be incorporated for understanding, insight, and present day resolution. 

     The method is used by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, and Military and rescue operations internationally.  Controlled research studies have consistently found that EMDR decreases or eliminates symptoms of PTSD.  It is effective for single incident traumas (big and small) as well as for complicated PTSD.  It has also been found effective for:
Grief and Loss
Anxiety, Fears, Phobias
Creativity and Performance Blocks
Sexual Abuse
History of Childhood Trauma, Abuse or Neglect
Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder)

     Needless to say a childhood history of trauma and multiple critical incidents require longer treatment but the benefits can be profoundly life altering.  The treatment is based on the concept that every one has the natural capacity to access inner resources for organic healing and wholeness.

*Taken from the EMDRIA website