Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an interactive psychological therapy. It was originally developed as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It involves the identification of unprocessed traumatic or other distressing experiences that are causing psychological anguish. During EMDR, the individual is guided by a therapist to recall the traumatic event while moving their eyes from side to side — often following a light board or some other form of bilateral stimulation. The goal is to desensitize the memory and to reprocess it so that the associated thoughts are no longer maladaptive.

EMDR has been found to be extremely effective for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is also used to treat depression, anxiety, and even chronic pain. Mark Grant, a clinical psychologist, has been developing and researching EMDR’s use for chronic pain. In a small study investigating the effectiveness of an EMDR protocol for chronic pain, participants reported decreased pain levels, improved mood, and increased ability to control their pain immediately after EMDR treatment and at a two-month follow-up.

EMDR is generally considered safe. It may take several sessions before an improvement is noticed. This treatment should be done by a licensed therapist who is specifically trained in EMDR therapy.