When a person is very distressed, the brain’s normal information processing system is interrupted. Exactly how EMDR works with the brain’s information processing system is not completely understood.
Bilateral (left-right) stimulation of the brain may help the client attend to both the memory and the visual (or kinesthetic, tactile or auditory) stimuli that the therapist provides. EMDR is thought to stimulate the brain’s operating system in the same way that the brain functions naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
EMDR has been around since the late 1980’s. Research is ongoing and to date there is more controlled outcome research to support it than any other treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
EMDR is not a treatment for biological/neurological issues such as bipolar disease or attention deficit disorder. However, it can be used to lessen the negative self-esteem such conditions often foster.