EDMR is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to resolve symptoms from disturbing and unresolved life experiences. It uses a structured approach to address past, present, and future aspects of disturbing memories. The approach was developed to resolve the development of trauma-related disorders including depression, anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
When a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm the usual ways of coping and the memory of the event is inadequately processed. When this memory network is activated, the individual may re-experience aspects of the original event, often resulting in inappropriate over-reactions. This explains why people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic incident may have recurring sensory flashbacks, thoughts, beliefs, or dreams/nightmares. An unprocessed memory of a traumatic event can retain high levels of sensory and emotional intensity, even though many years have passed.
EMDR works directly with memory networks and enhances information processing. The distressing memory is transformed when new connections are forged with more positive and realistic information. This results in a transformation of the emotional, sensory, and cognitive components of the memory so that, when it is accessed, the individual is no longer distressed. Instead he/she recalls the incident with a new perspective, new insight, resolution of the cognitive distortions, elimination of emotional distress, and relief of related physiological arousal.