Everyone will experience a negative event or trauma at some point in their lives. Some traumas are more difficult to heal from than others. Sometimes, a negative experience can feel as if it is “stuck” in your brain and body, causing you to live that experience over and over.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment that posits that we can get better and heal from negative experiences. EMDR theory suggests that people get better by using our adaptive information processing ability.
Two points of EMDR worth pointing out are Desensitization and Reprocessing. Associations, triggers, and links to the negative experience are desensitized through the treatment process. This means that objects, people, places, or thoughts that were once highly disturbing (because they were associated with negative experiences) do not bother people as much, or at all. Memories or experiences are also reprocessed. Negative cognitions, which are not adaptive, helpful, or truthful, are uncovered and identified. Positive, more adaptive, cognitions are juxtaposed to current limiting beliefs. This process of examination and strengthening the positive, adaptive beliefs can assist in getting “unstuck,” or free from limiting beliefs or past negative life events.
EMDR treatment explores, past, current, and future associations of the negative experience to process trauma completely and reduce future difficulty. EMDR treatment has been described as taking the power away from past, negative life experiences. The past cannot be undone. However, it is possible to use our innate processing ability to change how we think, believe, store memories, and experience past events in our bodies.