An Innovative Technique for Unblocking the Nervous System When You're Stuck in a Negative Place

“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” (EMDR) is a treatment based on the theory that traumatic incidents can upset the biochemical balance of the brain’s information processing system. Consequently, the negative information is literally “frozen” in its original anxiety-producing form with all the emotions, beliefs, and meanings prompted by the event, remaining “locked” in the nervous system.

The EMDR methodology is a form of accelerated information processing that stimulates the hemispheres of the brain to re-establish the balance between excitation on one hand and inhibition on the other, permitting the “frozen” information to be processed and integrated. Originally, the method relied on rhythmic eye movement to tap into the brain’s hemispheres (hence, the treatment’s title), but newer versions now employ alternative stimuli to unblock the neural networks. For example, I use a Walkman-like device that sends alternating tones to each ear through stereo headphones. At the same time gently vibrating pulsars held in each hand provide alternating tactile stimulation. The audio and tactile functions can be used separately as well.

I typically suggest EMDR when clients find it difficult to step away from highly charged experiences, remaining so entwined with their feelings they are unable to look at the event with detachment.

Does it seem intriguing? If you’re interested, we can talk further about the technique and how it might be helpful for you.