What is EMDR?
Reconnecting with your own inner resources
EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is an innovative clinical treatment that has successfully helped over a million individuals worldwide. The focus of EMDR treatment is the resolution of distress arising from difficult childhood experiences such as sexual or physical abuse, or the recovery from the effects of critical incidents, such as automobile accidents, industrial accidents, assault, trauma in the workplace, and natural disasters.
Other problems treated with EMDR are phobias, panic attacks, depression, addictions, chronic pain and self-esteem issues. Another innovative focus of EMDR is performance enhancement which helps to improve the functioning of people at work, in the performing arts, and in sports.
It is currently believed that disturbing childhood experiences or traumatic experiences as an adult, have been stored in memory without sufficient processing, so that they are stored in a lower part of the brain and have not been processed up to the neo-cortex or higher part of the brain as with other memories. When these disturbing experiences are brought to mind, or are stimulated by an event in your current life that is similar in some way to the original event, it is very disturbing – there can be disturbing images, emotions, physical sensations, and thoughts of the original event.
This is because the “fight or flight” reaction gets activated just as it did in the original experience and so all the accompanying sensations and feelings come that have not been fully processed.
Reprocessing these experiences with EMDR can allow you to process the difficult images, emotions, and sensations so that when you think of these incidents they will no longer feel disturbing to you. It allows you to see the original situations clearly without any negative beliefs about yourself.
EMDR is most often used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches and involves combining eye movements or other forms of stimulation such as bi-lateral tapping of the knees or bi-lateral music to assist the brain in the necessary processing.
EMDR – AN EXAMPLE
An example might be a person who has been in a car accident and is still afraid to drive many months later. She is still seeing the truck that hit her, hearing the sound of brakes and thinking that she will be killed. Although it is irrational, she believes that it is her fault because she knows this is a dangerous intersection even though she was doing nothing wrong.
After successful EMDR, she no longer hears the truck, or sees it hurtling toward her. “It just looks like a truck.” More importantly, she no longer believes that it was her fault; this belief has been replaced by another more positive one – “I did the best I could.”
EMDR FOR PERFORMANCE AND CREATIVITY ENHANCEMENT
EMDR can diminish performance blocks and anxieties the same way it desensitizes traumatic stress reactions. This is because a performance or creativity block is a reaction in a similar way to a trauma reaction – a negative self belief has been stimulated from your past and then the same deep part of the brain as with trauma, has stimulated the ‘fight or flight’ reaction manifesting now as anxiety and/or shame. EMDR is one of the very few methods that can change that negative programming and neutralize the negative reaction pattern.
EMDR can also be used to ‘install’ positive programming for future tasks and performances so it can increase self-confidence, enthusiasm, creativity and quality of future work performance. It can enable you to move beyond your current best to higher levels.
No matter what your field, EMDR can enhance creativity by helping unblock any barriers of limiting beliefs or self images which can contribute to feeling stuck and help you access your creative power and creative flow naturally again. So it can be used with business clients as well as with creative and performing individuals to deepen and enhance their work.
DOES IT WORK?
Fourteen controlled studies have shown that EMDR is an effective treatment. It has been accepted as a standard form of treatment by the American Psychological Association. The International Society for Traumatic Stress has designated EMDR as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A significant advantage of EMDR is that it accelerates treatment. One recent study showed that EMDR was about twice as effective in half the time when compared to traditional treatment.
I am a fully accredited EMDR practitioner through the EMDR Institute and would be happy to talk with you about this form of treatment.