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EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.

One way to understand how EMDR works is to think of life experiences as a file system. When physical sensations, emotions, and experiences are manageable and make sense, the brain automatically sorts through these, gets rid of what is unnecessary, and places the remaining files in long term storage. You can think about what happened in the past, and you know those experiences are over.


This filing system can go offline.  When experiences, emotions, or physical sensations are extreme, cause distress, or are traumatic, the brain processes that normally sort, gets rid of and move files to long term storage can stop filing correctly. These difficult experiences can stay “stuck” and feel as if they are happening in the present, over and over. Experiences continue to pile up with unsorted and unprocessed information. This can cause distress. Unprocessed information can evoke feelings of fear or anxiety in everyday situations.

EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. EMDR therapy, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain. For many clients, EMDR therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than other psychotherapies.

If you want to learn more about EMDR, you can visit the EMDRIA website: EMDR International Association

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