EMDR is a form psychotherapy used to rid or reduce the severe distress that comes with traumatic experiences (PTSD.) The goal is to change the physiological reaction to a memory, thereby reducing or eliminating emotional stress. The EMDR approach uses multiple phases. Through a process called “resourcing”, under the guidance of the therapist, the client develops emotional “safe places” in their own mind, so that if the memory becomes too overwhelming, they can access these safe places for the purpose of bringing back them back to the here and now and reducing the emotional stress that they are experiencing while. Once a highly comfortable and pleasant space is experienced, the therapist reinforces that experience by asking the client to do some deep breathing and bilateral tactile stimulation called “tapping in”. Once these resources are firmly in place in the client’s repertoire, the desensitization to the trauma can begin. When completed, the client’s response to the memory of this extremely distressing and traumatic event becomes a feeling of empowerment and strength.
EMDR has been the focus of more than 30 controlled studies, some of which have shown that as many as 90% of single-trauma victims who have undergone as few as three 90-minute sessions, no longer suffer from PTSD. A Kaiser Permanente study found that 100% of victims of a single trauma, and 77% of victims who had suffered multiple traumas, were free of PTSD after just six sessions.
The American Psychiatric Association, citing the huge body of research now available on the subject, now recognizes EMDR as an effective treatment. Similarly, so do the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Over the past 25 years, millions of people have been successfully treated.