Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy modality designed by Francine Shapiro in the early nineties that uses bilateral stimulation (BLS) to restore our nervous system's self healing capacities.
I have first experienced this in my personal therapy where, by focusing on distressing events from the past, big or small, I have witnessed old emotions and beliefs get "digested" and transform at an accelerated rate.
The way in which this works is fascinating. During my EMDR sessions with my therapist in London, the process is one not dissimilar to that of mindfulness or free association where you just let whatever happens happen and just observe and report back what you notice each time, as you add bilateral stimulation, either with eye movements, with tapping or buzzers.
Apart from its use for processing traumas and past unresolved memories I have also learnt some really useful techniques for stress reduction and emotional self regulation, together with the possibility of doing resource building work, focusing on qualities. This has a lot of crossover with some of the active imagination creative work that I have experienced during my training in transpersonal psychotherapy.
I understand there are different theories as to why EMDR therapy works but no one knows for sure! In my personal journey, it wasn't sometimes until much later than I would realise that old situations in which I would get anxious or be triggered into shame, for example, were now less of an issue.
EMDR therapy is one the most effective modalities I have come across, together with IFS (Internal Family Systems), mindfulness, body based approaches and the use of creative imagination. I am currently training in EMDR and I am able to provide it to clients in my London practice who might benefit from this approach.
For more information on EMDR you can visit this page.
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