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EMDR

 EMDR

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What is EMDR:  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)is a simple process with rapid results that can bring relief and resolution to issues that  are causing turmoil and unhappiness.   EMDR is a safe and very well researched method of therapy that treats disturbing memories of varying degrees. Originally designed to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), EMDR is effective in clearing the negative impact of  painful, past experiences.  EMDR integrates the elements of many other modalities of therapy and consists of structured and specific techniques that work  by accessing the brain’s information processing system..

      Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWnj9QQbD8c

How traumatic memories are stored in the brain:  The information reprocessing system is another one of the body’s systems, just as the digestive and respiratory systems are   This system is disrupted when traumatic or disturbing memories are stored in the brain in quite a different manner than regular,  benign memories.  In addition,  unintentional and unknown beliefs that lead to disturbances,  from the past can be  incompletely processed in the brain causing problems in daily living.   Painful experiences of any kind can continue to impact a person’s functioning long after the event has occurred.   A simple comment from a well intended but irritable and exhausted parent during childhood can lead to limited and destructive beliefs that EMDR can clear.

Different parts of the brain work to process different elements of an experience.  Some of these are the memory of the event as well as the sensory aspect of the incident. At any given time our brains are processing and integrating in a harmonious way the elements of what is going on around us.  When a troubling event occurs, the various cognitive areas of the experience  such as the sensory (sight,, sound, smell and touch)  are not fully integrated with the memory of the experience.  Because of this fragmentation the  memory does  not move  through a normal, cyclical process as do other non-threatening memories, instead it becomes stuck.  For this reason intense, negative feelings from the original trauma easily resurface when triggered by situations that are in some way similar to the  original event.  The sight, sound or smell of a place or event associated with the original disturbance can trigger severe feelings and reactions just as the memory of it can,  thus inhibiting a person’s ability to cope and feel secure and in control. 

An Example of how the brain stores trauma differently:  If a person who eats different things on any day of the weekwas asked to report what he had for lunch on Tuesday, two weeks prior, he would most likely not be able to remember.  If however, the same person was eating a tuna fish sandwich, alone at home on that Tuesday and while doing so was robbed at gun-point, it is highly likely that the person will remember exactly what  he/she ate that day. The reason being that the traumatic memory has been stored differently than the memories of what he ate for lunch on any other day of that week when nothing frightening occurred.

How traumatic memories affect us: To explain how the effects of trauma can continue to impact a person’s quality of life long after the event is over , the above example of the person being robbed at gun-point while eating can be used.  Future experiences of eating alone, in the same or even a different place, or eating tuna fish at all now have the power to trigger intense feelings of fear and powerlessness in that person.  The sensory experiences of the disturbing event, the smell or taste of tuna fish, the sight of the room or one that is similar in experience,  all are  now possible triggers for  fear and can impact the person’s feelings of wellbeing  and routine for a long time. Even if the perpetrator is caught, the person may continue feeling unsafe in many situations. The cause is the fragmentation that occurred in the information processing system in the brain resulting from the original incident. Similarly, many upsetting situations  have a profound and long-term impact on our beliefs about ourselves and the world that originated in some disturbance.
 
What do I need to know to do EMDR:  The only thing you needs to know to do EMDR is that there is a problem that seems to result from a past experience  in your life that you need to change and become willing to do so.  Many people who  struggle with problems that hinder their lives  may be aware of the origins of their problem while other have no idea.  Regardless of the level of insight a person possesses about their problem , EMDR can help.  This process can make clear where the problem started and then shift the disturbance completely, leaving the person feeling free and more in control. 
 
How does EMDR Work: During EMDR the client is asked to recall the most disturbing part of a  recent or distant memory associated with the problem that he or she chooses to work on., a negative belief as well as a new positive one.  The therapist then asks the person to become aware of any body sensation and then to focus their eyes, moving them back and forth,  following the therapist’s hand movements.  Some practitioners use pulsars or head phones which have the same effect as moving the eye movements.  Several sets of movements are used for short periods and then the images, feelings and sensations are processed in between sets with the direction of the therapist. Positive beliefs are also integrated in the process and are instilled while doing the eye movements.
 
Clients are taught relaxation techniques that can be used to effectively cope with difficulties between sessions and to reduce stress in general.  Following EMDR sessions, most clients experience an increased sense of freedom and relief from the situations that once provoked anxiety and other distressing feelings.   They also begin to form new, positive associations and beliefs that bring increased self-esteem and confidence and the ability to accomplish things that were once challenging.
 
Who can practice EMDR:  Only a licensed psychotherapist or a graduate student under the supervision of a licensed clinical who has the required training to practice EMDR should conduct the sessions.  A great deal of clinical knowledge as well as training by the EMDR Institute is required  before a clinician can practice EMDR.  A clinician should have a minimum of a masters degree and is required to be licensed with the state to practice psychotherapy privately.  Training and experience with complicated forms of trauma and various disorder by a skilled psychotherapist in the use of EMDR is important.

For More Information:
  http://brainworldmagazine.com/how-emdr-therapy-opens-a-window-to-the-brain/