Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful type of psychotherapy that was originally developed to treat victims of trauma.
"The memory is still with me. But I can think about it without getting overcome with anxiety and fear."
EMDR is based on the discovery by Dr. Francine Shapiro that moving the eyes in a certain way while recalling a disturbing event can lessen the intensity of troubling emotional responses.
Over time many researchers and therapists have added to the body of knowledge of EMDR. Now, EMDR therapists use other prompts involving bi-lateral stimulation (such as alternate hand tapping or visually following a moving light) to coincide with the traumatic memory work.
How it works:
"...When a person is very upset, the brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes 'frozen in time,' and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven't changed."
"...EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information...following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind."
EMDRIA, The EMDR International Association, 2009