Eye Movement Desensitization and Reporcessing (EMDR), is described by EMDRIA (EMDR International Association) as an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. It is defined as an evidence-based psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Successful outcomes are also well-documented in the literature for EMDR treatment of other disorders, such as chronic pain, anxiety, addictions, and somatic issues to name a few.
EMDR is an approach that allows the mobilization of the client's own healing mechanism which stimulates an innate information processing system in the brain.
EMDRIA explains: EMDR does not take away the memory, but it will be more distant, vague and not as distressing. EMDR will not take away any information that is valid or that you need to hold on to for your well -being. It is your own brain doing the healing and you are the one in control during the processing of the memory.
When a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked or frozen in the brain with the original pictures, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Present day experiences can activate those original feelings, thoughts, images, and sensations.
EMDR seems to stimulate that frozen information and allows the brain to process the experience by connecting that stuck memory with other information in your brain. This is similar to what may be happening in REM (rapid eye movment) sleep when we dream. The eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation (taps or tones) may help to process the unconscioous material. (As described by EMDRIA)