EMDR along with Trauma- focussed CBT is recommended in the NICE guidelines (National Institute for clinical Excellence) for the treatment of Post–traumatic stress disorder. It can also be used to treat other psychological disorders arising from traumatic experiences.
Trauma memories are not like normal memoires which are stored away in our memory and don’t cause us any problems. Trauma memories tend to overwhelm the nervous system and because they are so distressing and anxiety provoking, people tend to avoid thinking about them and connecting with the emotions attached to them. As a result these memories often get stuck in the nervous system “frozen in time” and associated with extreme anxiety and distress. These unprocessed traumatic memories continue to be “pop up” at various times and be re-experienced through intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares of the trauma.
EMDR works by targeting distressing and anxiety provoking trauma memories and allowing the sufferer to emotionally process these memories and store them away so that they no longer cause intrusive symptoms. The eye-movements which are employed in EMDR whilst remembering the trauma memories work by connecting right (emotional) and Left (logical brain) which helps the person undergoing it integrate new material and further helps emotional processing