Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
While we are not certain how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically, we do know that when a person is very upset, his/her brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. An incident from the past becomes "frozen in time", and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, feelings and physical sensations have not changed. Such memories may have an enduring negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and relates to other people.
For many, EMDR, an experiential therapy, helps the brain process distressing information in an accelerated way and restores healthy processing. So, following successful EMDR treatment, a person no longer re-experiences the painful images, sounds, feelings and bodily sensations when remembering the event. The memory remains, but it is less upsetting or intense. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and can bring quicker progress towards goals than traditional 'talk therapy'. Therefore, it can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing experiences in a new and less distressing way.
EMDR is also used for performance enhancement in athletics, in the workplace and in performing arts. This helps by encouraging development of positive neural pathways in the brain for accessing optimum performance as well as extinguishing symptoms related to performance anxiety and performance pressure, recovery from injury and competition loss.
Hypnosis is a state of focused concentration or attention guided by the clinician. The person under hypnosis is fully aware of his environment, is awake, and can decide to comply or not comply with any suggestion made by the therapist. Using hypnosis with a client, the therapist acts as a facilitator who recognizes and promotes use of the strengths that the client already possesses.
Hypnosis allows additional relaxation, imagination or focus capitalizing on skills already developed in these areas, or teaching new ones. It can help to make changes to better cope with, and therefore improve, life. It can assist clinically in such areas as anxiety or stress reduction, pain management, behavioral change (smoking cessation, overeating, exercise, public speaking), fear of flying, dogs, spiders, etc.