EMDR Therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, is a specialized type of therapy treatment designed to reduce psychological symptoms associated with traumatic events of various natures. While EMDR therapy was originally designed to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is now often used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders and depression.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR is considered an integrative approach to psychotherapy (i.e., talking therapy) meaning that it draws on a number of different theoretical perspectives of treatment (including cognitive -behavioral, Gestalt Therapy and psychodynamic perspectives).
While EMDR includes many different elements and techniques, the central aspect of the approach is the use of "dual stimulation" to facilitate processing of painful or anxiety-producing memories.
The primary mode of dual stimulation is the use of eye-movements-- using this procedure, the therapist has the client recall a painful target memory (i.e., a trauma memory) while simultaneously moving their eyes left and right following the therapist's hand movements. Other forms of dual stimulation involve the use of tapping, tones, or other stimuli. The dual stimulation process is theorized to promote deeper reprocessing of the stored memory.