EMDR is an integrated type of treatment that incorporates a number of different therapeutic approaches and has specific treatment phases. It was originally developed in the 1980s by Francine Shapiro and is used predominantly in the treatment of ongoing issues following a traumatic experience. Some of these issues or symptoms include things like flashbacks, reliving of the traumatic memories or ongoing disturbances in sleep.
A traumatic experience generally refers to any disturbing life event. While not everyone who experiences such an event will develop ongoing problems, for some these symptoms can actually greatly impact on their ability to function, to feel safe in the world or feel they can cope with life.
EMDR is one of the most widely investigated treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and it comprises a specific eight step treatment process, which includes, the use of either eye movements or bilateral left-right stimulation. An example of that left-right stimulation could be auditory stimulation or knee-taps.
During an actual EMDR session, the client is focusing on past and present experiences, like a memory in the form of an image, for example, in brief sequences while at the same time they're focusing on an external stimuli. A sequence of focusing of attention and personal association is repeated many times in the session. Evidence indicates that EMDR works by assisting the client to reprocess or fully process the disturbing thoughts and memories that have become stuck or frozen at the time of the trauma.
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