Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR is an interactive psychological therapy. Originally, it was developed to help individuals with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. It involved the identification of unprocessed traumatic or other distressing experiences that are causing an individual psychological pain. While recalling the worst part of a memory, the individual is directed to move their eyes from side to side often following a light board, or some other form of bilateral stimulation. This works to help the individual to desensitize to 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. From there, it has gone on to be 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 decrease pain levels, improved mood, and increased ability to control their pain after treatment and in a 2 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 licenced therapist who has been trained in EMDR therapy.

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