Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR is a psychotherapeutic approach that integrates eye movement or other forms of bilateral stimulation in order to support a more functional cognitive processing of distressing memories and beliefs. It has been used as a tool in the psychotherapy for trauma, PTSD, emotional, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other mental health issues.
EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing model (AIP) which asserts that when a person is traumatized, often the memory and reactions of the trauma stay at the forefront of the mind long after the actual trauma. Later, a trauma reaction may be triggered by benign or normal events. These responses can impair the ability to cope, to have trusting relationships, and can sometimes damage sleep and focus because of flashbacks, heightened startle response, and/or nightmares. With EMDR, the stored material related to the trauma is processed in an environment of safety and collaboration, with appropriate additional therapy modalities in effort to lessen the trauma reaction.
EMDR cannot erase what happened, but it can help one regain focus and better cope and take action in their life.