I am trained and certified in the practice of EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is an evidence based practice, developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1980's. It is widely used for the treatment of trauma and other concerns which relate to unprocessed memory networks, which are the understood to be the cause of post-traumatic symptoms, such as anxiety, phobias, mood disturbance, flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive thoughts. EMDR is endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, and is currently utilized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ("the VA") and the U.S. Department of Defense as a proven method of treating trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related conditions.
EMDR works through bi-lateral stimulations of the brain, which encompasses two distinct but inter-dependent hemispheres, both of which are involved in the coding and storage of memory. The stimulation can occur in the form of tapping, audio tones or back and forth eye movements, which replicate the action of the eyes during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep, when information from the day is processed. (This is where the term "eye movement" in EMDR comes from, although it has since been discovered that eye movements are not the only means by which we can engage neural activity.) By gently probing memory networks while stimulating the two brain hemispheres, events that have been "frozen" in our neural pathways are released, and more adaptive memory networks can form.
Most clients who experience EMDR describe the memories they have processed as feeling "far away" after treatment. The memory is not erased, but the emotional charge is simply eliminated or decreased. The result is a reduction in troubling symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety and the need to avoid triggering people, places or things.