EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a proven effective treatment for trauma including PTSD, complicated grief, panic attacks, disturbing memories, anxiety, and abuse.
The purpose of EMDR is to turn relivings --- traumatic memories --- into normal memories. EMDR can help shift from living past painful experiences as if they are happening in the present to normal memories of "I remember when..." While EMDR does not erase the memories of past events, It is a way of detaching the pain and trauma from those experiences.
An EMDR processing session is like a train going down the track with passengers exiting and boarding.
Negative pieces of the traumatic event leave and
positive, adaptive and realistic information enters.
AIP, adaptive information processing, is the natural and physically based mechanism in each of us for processing and resolving disturbing life experiences. This natural processing involves thinking about the event, talking about it, and dreaming about it, all to place it in context. Your brain is designed to do this work. However, trauma occurs when this natural processing doesn't work, and the memory becomes stored as, "right now." This trauma brings with it the reliving of the experience with flashbacks, physical sensations and a shift to negative beliefs about yourself and the world. This reliving is similar to time travel where you relive all or pieces of the past event as if they are happening in the present.
This AIP mechanism might fail when the event is so outside of your previous life experience that it just can't be understood. You may also have built defenses that are preventing AIP from happening. So, EMDR can essentially kickstart AIP to help you turn memories that are being stored as trauma into normal memories and empower you to walk away with a new understanding that is oftentimes compassionate and positive toward yourself.
EMDR is administered only by trained and licensed therapists and can be a powerful treatment modality. In addition to initial trainings, I actively use EMDR with clients including virtually, attend ongoing trainings, and am supervised by an experienced EMDR consultant and trainer.
Read more at EMDR International Association.