Often when something traumatic happens, it seems to get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and so on. Since the experience is locked there, it continues to be triggered whenever a reminder comes up. It can be the basis for a lot of discomfort and sometimes a lot of negative emotions, such as fear and helplessness,that we can’t seem to control. These are really the emotions connected with the old experience that are being triggered.

The eye movements we use in EMDR seem to unlock the system and allow your brain to process the experience. That may be what is happening in REM, or rapid eye movements, sleep, when our most intense dreaming takes place: The eye movements appear to be involved during the processing of unconscious material.

The important thing to remember is that it is your own brain that will be doing the healing and that you are the one in control.

Disturbing events can be stored in the brain in an isolated memory network. This prevents learning from taking place. The old material just keeps getting triggered over and over again. In another part of the brain, in a separate network, is most of the information you need to resolve it. It’s just prevented from linking up to the old stuff. Once we start processing with EMDR, the two networks can link up. New information can come to mind and resolve the old problems.