Seeing clearly

I found this article in the Nature & Heath magazine (one of my favorites for interesting information) and I thought it was rather informative and intriguing. I am sure you also will find it interesting.

Like somatic awareness, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is the vanguard of trauma therapies, that aim to help people move through a traumatic experience without having to relive the pain of it.

While out walking one day, Psychologist Francine Shapiro was engrossed in thinking about her many troubles when she realized that moving her eyes back and forth to observe her surroundings alleviated her anxiety.

She experimented with variations of this eye movement with some of her patients and found that they had the same experience as her and felt better.

In a clinical situation, EMDR therapists ask patients to hold their traumatic experiences in their mind and while doing so track the therapist’s back- and- forth finger movements with their eyes, as if they were following a hypnotists swinging watch.

How does it work? No one eally knows, but numerous controlled studies show that EMDR does produce improvements in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as those triggered by rape. It is thought that, at this time of trauma, strong emotions interfere with our ability to completely process the experience, and that moment becomes frozen in time. EMDR involves recalling the traumatic event and ‘reprogramming’ the memory in the light of a positive self-chosen belief, while using the rapid eye movements to lock in the process. EMDR appears to directly affect the brain, allowing the patient to resume normal functioning without reliving the frightening images and sounds of the event over and over again.

Although a relatively new therapy, EMDR has quickly gained official acknowledgement. It has been accepted by the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Department of Defence, and the Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Health recently recommended it as a treatment for acute stress disorder.


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