EMDREMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. When a person is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When a person recalls the distressing memory, they can re-experience quite intensely what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt.
Sometimes the memories are so distressing that the person tries to avoid thinking about the original event in order to avoid experiencing the distressing feelings. Some people find that the distressing memories come to mind when something reminds them of the event, or sometimes the memories just seem to just pop into their mind unexpectedly (i.e. ‘flashbacks’).
During EMDR, alternating left-right eye movements, sounds or taps stimulate the brain and seem to unlock the frozen or blocked information processing system. In the process, the distressing memories seem to lose their intensity, so that the memories are less distressing and seem more like 'ordinary' memories. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side. EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether the distress stems mainly from what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt or thought.
EMDR is useful for a wide range of difficulties and is effective for children as well as adults.