We are hard-wired for survival. However, in PTSD and related disorders, survival strategies that may have been usefeul, even necessary during trauma (fight, flight, freeze) become counterproductive. When the brain believes it detects a similar threat the same sytematic response set in motion, even if it no longer makes sense within the current situation or relationship.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is highly efficient in terms of accessing relevant limbic system, nervous system, and bodily-based material that are the subtrates of the fight-flight-freeze survival system, our hard-wired responses to fear and overwhelm. EMDR helps to quiet and ultimately reprogram the system-wide response that is on auto-pilot, as if in a time warp.
An 8 phase protocol is used that begins with a detailed history. Phases 4-6 conducted using Bilateral Simulation (BLS). BLS refers to eye movement, auditory, or tactile input that stimulates both sides of the brain in alternating fashion. This helps to access parts of the brain that are difficult to reach in talk therapy including the right hemisphere of the brain( shown above in color). Your left hemisphere creates a story that you tell yourself, a rationalization for the difficulties you face; however, the story is not truly accurate, as the key information that has to be processed is stored in the right hemisphere and body. Onced processed, perceptions, emotion and body sense shift.
EMDR has been recognized as a unique psychotherapy approach by the American Psychological Association, The International Society for Traumatic Stress and the National Institute of Health (NIH). It is validated as an evidence-based treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is endorsed by the Department of Defence / Department of Veteran Affairs. Research is ongoing on many populations: anxiety, eating disorders, phobia, addictions, low self-esteem, pain phantom limb pain, natural disaster victims, man-made disaster victims, and performance enhancements to name a few.