Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based psychotherapy treatment that helps connect the dots of the present with the past and identify the unprocessed memories that underlie our current problems. A memory is considered unprocessed if it still evokes the same emotions, sensations, and thoughts that accompanied the memory when it was first stored. When it gets triggered, it is as if a lens comes over our eyes and we see the world and ourselves through the lens of that memory. For the most part, this process
happens automatically and unconsciously. We don’t stop and think, “I might be overreacting, let me plunge into the depth of my psyche and see what memory is running my show.”
With EMDR, it is possible to engage in the process of memory-mining in order to unfreeze an unprocessed memory and let it reunite with the remainder of the personality so that it doesn’t steal the show every time it gets triggered and turn you into someone you perhaps don’t want to be. What we do in session is we time travel with the help of our thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, which serve as a time portal. We focus on this present sensory experience and let it guide us down the memory lane to the earliest time we felt that way. When we discover a memory that laid the groundwork for our current problems, we work with it via an associative process accompanied by bilateral stimulation.
As we uncover the memories that lie underneath our struggles, we become more comprehensible to ourselves. There’s a cause and an effect. And knowing the cause, we can be more in control of the effect. It gives us more mental space to reinterpret the current situation and mitigate the emotional intensity that was more appropriate for another place and another time.