Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic technique based originally on purposeful eye movement. The goal is to have its use help with trauma and anxiety based issues. In a typical EMDR session a therapist leads a client through a cycling left to right, to left, movement of their eyes while helping the person work through the memories of a traumatic experience.Her personal discovery of her eye movements helping to calm disturbing memories spurred studies and the formulation of EMDR. EMDR is now widely held as an established, tested therapeutic modality.
The basic EMDR technique is the repeating movement along a horizontal plane, and as EMDR has gained traction, the methods to simulate the movement have expanded to include audio and rhythmic pulsing. The three essential approaches are:
1) Visual – the therapist has the client move their eyes left and right, typically by having the client track their focus on the therapist’s finger or a held prop, such as a pen.
2) Auditory – Sounds or specialized music is played that moves from left to right. This is most effective with headphones in which the send travels between the left and right ears.
3) Pulsig/Tapping – a small electronic instrument sends an alternating signal to two handheld tactile pulsers. They pulse in alternating sequence, one after other.
There are other adaptations of simulating left and right sensation. All methods follow this bilateral approach. For example, a person may be in trauma from a recent car accident. The therapist would have the client follow their finger with their eyes from left to right while asking the client to visual a pleasant image and process the car accident. In this manner, the stressful experience gets worked through.
EMDR is widely used and has helped people in many situations, such as veterans returning from war, rape and abuse victims, and people experiencing trauma from life changing events such as being in an accident or a fire. Additionally EMDR is effective in addiction treatment. Often people with addictions are suffering from some type of trauma that has spurred on the addictive cycle.
To see if EMDR can help you, make an appointment with a therapist that specializes Couples Counselling Vancouver in EMDR. It is a common enough practice that it should not be hard to find someone with experience or training in this technique. Trauma can be overcome. The first step is finding a professional with the qualifications to help with your particular issues.