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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
When we have really difficult things happen to us, our feelings and thoughts get really mixed-up. We sometimes call it trauma. We can feel bad about ourselves and its difficult to have space for the good feelings and thoughts. Trauma can be things that happened to us in the past when someone has harmed us; it could be bullying; or we could have been in an accident or someone we love dies tragically. It can be all kinds of things. Sometimes we get over things just with love and care from others., but sometimes we need more help.
When young people have EMDR, one of the things they do is move their eyes from one side to another while they think about the difficult things that happened to them. Most people don’t know this, but they actually do this every night… yes people move their eyes every night while they are asleep and are having dreams. Grown-ups call this Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep cycle. If the eye movement feels really weird and uncomfortable when we’re doing EMDR (we use a light bar to follow with our eyes) there are other ways to connect with that part of your brain.
Here’s a lovely animation that explains it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7yKY8Hm12Y
The mixed-up thoughts, feelings and body feelings are connected to those difficult things from the past. EMDR helps the brain put all the pieces together so the difficult memories can leave us and the good stuff or the things we learned from it can stay so we get stronger