What is EMDR

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro to help people heal from trauma or adversities such as issues of Anxiety, Depression, abuse, bullying, domestic violence, grief/loss, attachment wounds, abandonment, PTSD, and many other complicated life issues.

EMDR therapy integrates elements of many traditional psychological orientations and is based on the adaptive information processing model (AIP). The AIP model hypothesizes that there is an inherent information processing system in the brain that gets blocked when traumatic or adverse events occur, causing these events to get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Whenever a reminder of the traumatic or adverse event comes up, those pictures, thoughts, feelings, and sensations can continue to be triggered.

According to Dr. Shapiro, many emotional problems and disorders are manifestations of these unprocessed trauma memories that are stored in the brain. EMDR therapy works on helping the brain reprocess these traumatic memories, and as a result alleviating the emotional and psychological disorders. EMDR therapy has been used with adults, children and adolescents with a wide variety of emotional and psychological problems including PTSD, anxiety, phobias, depression, attachment disorders etc. 

It is worth highlighting how the traumas that have not healed in this generation have the potential of being passed into the next. The sense of self in any child does not develop in isolation; in fact it develops in the parent-child relationship and other important relationships early in life.

We came to this world to connect with others and when these connections do not happen or they happen in a way that hurt us or injure us, our sense of self does not develop appropriately. In many cases having the child as well as the parent receive EMDR therapy may be recommended for best results.

Sometimes the parent may be highly traumatized by living through the traumas of their children and the healing needs to take place in both, the child and the parent. Sometimes because of the parents’ early experiences with their own parents, they may have difficulties setting boundaries with their kids, or they may be overprotective, neglectful or abusive or too distant or too intrusive. Parent’s emotional problems can affect their children’s emotional, physical and psychological development. For instance, a parent with depression, without knowing or intending to, may neglect their child’s needs for connection and love. This can result in having a child with emotional and behavioral problems.

We are privileged now to have so many tools and options that can help us heal. All of us at some point in our lives need help. We are biologically hard wired to need others and need help from others. Don’t give up! There is hope and so many ways to find healing and become whole. Remember you don’t have to go through this alone. There are EMDR therapists all over the world that can assist you.

EMDR therapy is now validated as an evidence-based approach and included in SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. In addition, EMDR therapy has been validated by over 20 randomized controlled clinical trials

Information from Ana Gomez website https://www.anagomez.org/