This graphic was created to help the public understand how EMDR helps the brain process certain memories, describing regular vs. stuck memories using a cartoon brain to illustrate.
EMDR Therapy and Your Brain
Unpleasant, traumatic, or distressing events happen to us all the time. Memories of these events can get stuck in our brain and impact us, even without us realizing it.
In the ideal brain process, an event happens and it gets stored appropriately in your memory. Something reminds you of the event and you have positive or neutral thoughts and feelings about yourself. “I did the best I could.”
Sometimes, an event happens and it gets stuck in your memory, due to the brain’s fight, flight, or freeze response—or because of other past experiences. Something reminds you of the event and you have negative thoughts and feelings about yourself. “I’m such a failure.”
How EMDR Therapy Can Help
Your therapist guides you through eye movements (or other methods) while you think about the unpleasant event. The unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations fade away. It becomes just a memory.
After EMDR Therapy
“The threat is over. I did my best.”
EMDR International Association
Copyright © 2023 EMDR International Association
EMDR International Association. (2023). EMDR Therapy and Your Brain [Infographic].
EMDR Therapists, General/Public