EMDR is an interactive therapy originally created for treating the anxiety arising from traumatic experiences, but now it is used for much more. It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is a technique that combines attention to inner emotions with outward stimuli such as eye movements. This triggers neurophysiological changes in the brain that allow us to diminish or resolve the unwanted emotions or distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
Research studies show that by undergoing EMDR therapy, people can experience benefits within a few months (or less) that previously took years of psychotherapy to achieve. Conventional wisdom previously led to the belief that it takes a long time to heal from severe emotional pain; however, EMDR therapy has shown that the mind can heal from psychological trauma in a relatively short period of time- similar the body’s recovery from physical trauma. When you're injured, your body works to heal itself- BUT if the injury is repeatedly irritated or debris remains within a wound, it can't heal and causes pain. Once the debris or irritation is removed, then healing can occur. This is similar to what EMDR therapy does for the emotional healing process. The brain already contains the process to naturally heal these emotional wounds- EMDR simply activates this natural healing process without the need for medication or any type of hypnotic state. In fact, it is necessary that you remain fully awake and aware throughout the treatment. Unlike other types of therapy, there is no homework involved and it isn't even necessary to get into detail about your painful life experiences. At the conclusion of EMDR therapy, most patients feel empowered by the very emotions that once controlled them. Their injuries have not just healed, they have been transformed.
The studies are impressive! Many controlled studies have been done on EMDR in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (the original indication for EMDR). These studies show that between 84%-90% of people experiencing a single-trauma no longer have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after only three 90-minute sessions of EMDR. A study funded by Kaiser Permanente found that 100% of the single-trauma victims no longer suffered with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In a study of combat veterans, 77% of were free of PTSD within 12 sessions.
EMDR is now recognized as an effective form of treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Department of Defense. It is easy to see how EMDR would be effective in treating the everyday memories that form the reasons people have low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, and other problems that result in the need for therapy. Millions of people have been successfully treated by EMDR since it was introduced. Dr. Bradley T. Wajda and all current psychotherapists are trained and qualified to utilize EMDR therapy.