What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is a therapeutic modality that was discovered by a psychologist named Francine Shapiro in 1987. She discovered that moving the eyes back and forth (similar to what our eyes do during REM stages of sleep) can help to reduce the intensity of distressing thoughts, feelings, and memories. She first used this therapy on combat Veterans who had recently returned from Vietnam and found EMDR to be helpful in their recovery from combat-related trauma. She later studied EMDR with non-military individuals and found it to be helpful for a wide range of traumatic experiences.
How does EMDR Therapy work?
Basically, when bad things happen we develop bad thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that get “stuck” in a specific area of the brain. EMDR helps to access that part of the brain where the trauma lives and allows the individual to process the images, beliefs, and feelings from those experiences. Essentially, EMDR helps the individual to revisit where they became stuck in the trauma and allows the brain to heal and recover from traumatic experiences, regardless of when the trauma took place.
What can EMDR Therapy help with?
EMDR has been shown to be effective with PTSD, panic, depression, grief, phobias, anxiety, stress reduction, and those who have survived sexual, emotional, and/or physical abuse. It can be helpful with children, teens, and adults of all ages. EMDR has been designated as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and many other international health agencies. For more information about EMDR, visit the following website: www.emdria.org
Dr. Angela Cusimano is trained in EMDR Therapy and is currently working on the requirements for becoming a Certified EMDR Therapist through the EMDR International Association.