Most of the time your body routinely manages new information and experiences without you being aware of it. When you are traumatized by devastating events such as a car accident or by being repeatedly subjected to suffering such as childhood neglect, your natural coping mechanism can become overloaded. Overloading results in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain. Such memories and feelings are stored in a primitive part of your brain in raw emotional form, rather than the usual verbal story mode.
These frozen memories are automatically triggered when you experience events and situations that this primitive part of your brain decides are similar to your original trauma.
Even if you have forgotten the trauma, your painful feelings like anxiety, panic, anger, and despair are automatically recalled without your consent. Thus, your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences is crippled.
The mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way the body does. Much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. EMDR uses the natural healing ability of your body. You are asked questions about a particular disturbing memory that you choose to discuss. Then eye movements similar to those when you dream, are recreated.
EMDR seeks to free the frozen trauma by enabling your brain to reprocess the traumatic memory in a very natural way.
With repeated sets of eye movements, memory changes in such a way that it loses painful intensity and becomes just a neutral memory of an event in the past. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life.