EMDR, as with most therapy approaches, focuses on the individual’s present concerns. The EMDR approach believes that past emotionally-charged experiences are overly influencing your present emotions, sensations, and thoughts about yourself. This may include severe emotional trauma such as abuse, rape, or other violent acts that cause flashbacks (post-traumatic stress disorder) or phobias. EMDR processing helps you break through the emotional blocks that are keeping you from living an adaptive, emotionally healthy life.
EMDR uses rapid sets of eye movements to help you update disturbing experiences, much like what occurs when we sleep. During sleep, we alternate between regular sleep and REM (rapid eye movement). This sleep pattern helps you process things that are troubling you. EMDR replicates this sleep pattern by alternating between sets of eye movements and brief reports about what you are noticing. This alternating process helps you update your memories to a healthier present perspective. After undergoing EMDR, many people find relief from past trauma in just a few sessions.