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What is EMDR therapy? EMDR is short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This article defines EMDR therapy and explains the phases of EMDR therapy. Keep reading to see if EMDR therapy is the right treatment for you or your loved ones behavior disorder.
What Is EMDR?
The initialism EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a type of psychotherapy that has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of trauma in research studies. EMDR developed from Dr. Francine Shapiro's observations in 1987 concerning the capability of eye movements to reduce the intensity level of disturbing thoughts in some situations. Dr. Shapiro undertook a research study, which was published in 1989 in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, and that began the spread of the method and the standardization of protocols.
EMDRIA (EMDR International Association) maintains a definition of EMDR, that is updated or revised periodically and is intended to be the basis of consistent training, credentialing, and clinical application of EMDR. According to the definition, the therapy rests on the observation that disturbing or traumatic events are responsible for widespread psychopathology because the person's ability to process and integrate experiences of this type is impaired by the experiences themselves. During EMDR therapy, memories of these events are activated and paired with "alternating bilateral or dual attention stimulation," a process that appears to allow normal processing and integration of experience to resume.
Results of EMDR therapy, according to the definition, include:
It is known that a traumatic occurrence or even a very great upset renders a person's brain incapable of normal information processing and memories of that experience can be exceptionally potent. Such memories can influence a person's worldview and relationships. Although the actual underlying workings of EMDR are not known, it seems to be able to resolve the information processing block, reducing the power and influence of the memory, which is rendered less like a current experience. Similarities have been observed between the effects of EMDR and the experience of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
The Basics of EMDR Therapy
EMDR therapy includes eight phases that are aimed at past memories, disturbances in the present, and actions in the future. Here are brief descriptions:
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