What is EMDR?

Neuroscenter Clinic

Located in Barcelona and Girona

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Neuroscenter Clinic

Located in Barcelona and Girona


EMDR is a tool to overcome traumatic experiences. This does not mean that what happened is erased, but that it can be remembered as an event that happened but that no longer affects your present in a negative way.

What is EMDR therapy?

Our brain is subject to constant learning (brain plasticity) since we are born. Our unconscious is filling with information and little by little our psychological and emotional personality is built. This constitutes 80% of us and remembers absolutely everything that we have experienced. While we sleep, we have two different dream phases, deep sleep and paradoxical sleep.

Dreams occur during paradoxical sleep. We can say that it is our unconscious that enters into communication with the conscious. While this dream takes place, a phenomenon called R.E.M phase (rapid eye movement), occurs, and our eyes move from left to right rapidly. This eye movement activates the amygdala (where our emotions reside) to process them in the prefrontal cortex. Sometimes these phases of R.E.M are not done correctly and the emotions get blocked in the emotional brain (amygdala) thus creating a trauma.

EMDR uses bilateral brain stimulation, either through eye movements, tapping, or through sounds, stimulating one brain hemisphere at a time (left-right-left, etc.) by stimulating one and the other side of the body alternately.

This produces a flow of information between both cerebral hemispheres, working on information that was blocked, as a result of a trauma, and achieves a desensitization of negative and inappropriate emotions, stimulating the brain to find new functional and realistic solutions, much more appropriate to the situation.

EMDR can be used within standard “verbal” therapy (as a supplementary therapy), or as a treatment on its own. It is also used to be able to carry out a deeper therapy.

Advanced therapies are those that break the idea that a therapy must be very slow and extensive, lasting for years. EMDR is an advanced psychotherapy since it is not necessary to explore the past for years to obtain visible therapeutic results, with evident and lasting changes over time and, therefore, achieve the same final objective: the psychological well-being of the person.

What has evolved is the method, integrating some more traditional with other current ones from Neuropsychology, focusing on the problem and acting more quickly. Traumas create a pattern to avoid pain. And these patterns are difficult to remove.

EMDR therapy treatments

EMDR is an integrative therapeutic method endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is currently considered the best treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) both for its effectiveness and speed in treating trauma. The method was created in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, and research in recent years has made it one of the treatments with the largest scientific validation studies. Although initially it was used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), today it has proven to be effective in treating anxiety problems, phobias, addictions, depression, panic attacks, unresolved grief, obsessions, and childhood or current traumatic incidents.

EMDR is also used to treat self-esteem and lack of confidence problems, fear of public speaking, for better performance at work, in sports or to develop creative abilities, increasing personal abilities. The acronym EMDR stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” meaning Desensitization and Reprocessing through eye movements. Desensitizing means reducing the disturbance associated with that experience, and Reprocessing is working on the understanding of that traumatic memory so that it is more adaptive for the person. Through EMDR Therapy, the brain can change learning at an emotional and sensory level, where the traumatic event was fixed and blocked.

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