What is EMDR therapy?

December 13, 2019 | Michael Burrows

EMDR therapy - Eye movement Desensitisation with Reprocessing - is the gold standard psychological treatment for PTSD and traumatic memories.

Traumatic memories get stuck in an episodic state and can be 'triggered', causing you to re-experience the internal and external sensory information from the time.

EMDR helps reprocess these memories, converting them into semantic memory. Semantic memory is informational in nature and so the raw sensory information is no longer triggered. The negative meaning about self, taken from the traumatic event, is also reprocessed to something more helpful during this process.

As we've talked about in other videos, not all trauma is the classic life-threatening or unwanted sexual-event type. Traumatic memories can be formed by emotionally distressing events in which we attribute a negative meaning to ourselves. This can be a wide variety of events. And the effects of re-experiencing it can be flashing-back to the emotions of the time, rather than a full sensory flashback.

I often find that when people are struggling to view themselves positively, there are memories that have been stored in this way, that when reprocessed, enable them to see themselves from a more helpful perspective.

I hope this video helps better your understanding of yourself and the EMDR process.