EMDR was developed to treat trauma by processing through trauma memories. It can now be used for: complex trauma, dissociation, panic attacks, anxiety, addiction, etc.
EMDR is a method used to help clients process through traumatic memories by 'clearing' out memories in the mind and in the body. EMDR recognizes that trauma is stored not only in our minds, but our bodies as well, and it needs to be 'cleared' from both to fully heal.
Trauma memories get stored in our minds and bodies incorrectly, therefore leading to maladaptive coping (hyperviligance, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, continuous fight or flight responses, etc). EMDR's goal is to reprogram these memories, so they are no longer distressing.
This process is identifying a memory/ies to process through, choosing a negative cognition attached to the memory and working towards changing the negative cognition to something positive and healing. EMDR uses bi lateral stimulation (tapping on both sides of the body) to process through memories on both sides of the brain. Connecting both parts of the brain activates the memory portion of our brain and allows us to process the memories differently. Once the memory is 'cleared' (no longer distressing) in the mind, it is 'cleared' from the body using the same bi lateral stimulation.
EMDR can be adapted to any type of trauma and adapted to complex trauma as well. Our EMDR therapist, Courtney Loyola, MA, LPC tailors EMDR to specifically treat complex trauma. She helps survivors heal not only trauma memories, but the negative patterns that keep a person stuck in the complex trauma cycle.