Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
EMDR therapy is a holistic, comprehensive, and integrative psychotherapy approach. It contains elements of many effective psychotherapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies.
Following the eight phase protocol, the patient is helped to identify and target the images, negative irrational beliefs, emotions, and body sensations associated with the unresolved event or problem. The patient is then asked to develop a new positive belief about the self that will replace the negative one. The veracity of this new belief is rated while the patient thinks of the disturbing event.
The patient is prepared for EMDR and then asked to bring to mind all the negative information identified with the problem. Eye movements, auditory tones, or tactile stimulation are used to produce the REM-like state needed for trauma resolution.
After processing is complete, patients generally report either no more or a significant decrease in emotional distress about the memory. And a more positive belief about self is now assimilated leading to changed beliefs and behaviors.
For a much more detailed explanation along with research findings, the interested reader can go to emdria.org for more information.