EMDR: An Intricate Treatment Approach to Trauma

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was initially created to diminish the anguish associated with traumatic memories. It is an unconventional treatment that has sparked great debate and controversy over its effectiveness (Rousseau 2019). According to van der Kolk (2015) EMDR challenges the long time belief that severe emotional pain takes many years to heal from. EMDR treatment exhibits that a comparative sequence of occasions happens with mental processes. It is believed that the brain’s information processing system moves toward mental-health by nature. In the event that the framework is blocked or imbalanced by the effect of an exasperating occasion, the injury putrefies and can cause exceptional affliction; when the blockage is cleared healing resumes (EMDR Institute, Inc. 2019). Utilizing the methods learned in EMDR treatment, clinicians are able to assist patients in stimulating their natural healing processes.

According to EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs (2019), EMDR treatment targets trauma in eight phases which exhaustively recognizes and addresses encounters that have overpowered the cerebrum’s normal strength or adapting limit, and have in this way produced awful side effects or potentially hurtful coping mechanisms. Through EMDR treatment, patients can reprocess horrendous events until they are not mentally disruptive. Through this strategy, patients tend to process the memory in a manner that leads to peaceful resolution.

EMDR was initially used to treat persons suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through EMDR treatment, eye movements are utilized for a fragment of the session. After the clinician has figured out which memory to target first, they request that the patient hold distinct parts of the event in mind and use their eyes to follow the specialist’s hand as it moves forward and backward in their sight. According to the EMDR Institute, Inc. (2019), as this occurs, for reasons accepted by a Harvard specialist to be associated with the organic instruments engaged with Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, interior affiliations emerge and the client starts to process the memory and disturbing sentiments. In successful EMDR treatment, the significance of tragic/traumatic events changed on an emotional level.

I am a firm believer that severe emotional trauma takes years to truly heal and recover from. Most people suffer from trauma of some sort. However, different methods work for different people. For those who are apprehensive or uncomfortable with the idea of speaking through their trauma EMDR would be a great treatment to try. It indisputably empowers the patient and has them view their trauma as an event/events they overcame instead of an event/events that define them. While some assert EMDR treatment is ineffective there have been successful cases of treatment. The treatment process is intricate. It reminds me of hypnosis. Targeting traumatic imagery for healing follows the saying “face your fears,” – you face your fears to overcome them. I do question whether there is an undoing of this hypnosis like process. EMDR seemingly is effective, but I would like to do further research to truly trust the long-term effects and success.



EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs. (2019). What is EMDR? Retrieved from https://www.emdrhap.org/content/what-is-emdr/

EMDR Institute, Inc. (2019). What is EMDR? Retrieved from https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/

Rousseau, D. (2019). Module 4: Pathways to Recover: Understanding Approaches to Trauma Treatment. Lecture presented in Boston University, accessed online 9 April 2019 via https://onlinecampus.bu.edu/

Van der Kolk, B.  A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York, NY: Penguin.

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