Freedom in the blink of an eye

Freedom in the blink of an eye

"It happens that a force like pushing us out of habitual life, forcing me, - says Francine Shapiro. - But the changes are so sudden and tragic, as it happened to me that we are not able to cope with them. "

In 36 years, Francine, barely a doctorate in English literature, I learned that the cancer patients. Operation, a divorce with her husband, long-term treatment - all these events have forever changed her life. The disease has receded, but Francine seemed stuck between life and death: it was tormented by constant fears and obsessive disturbing thoughts, nightmares at night and during the day all dropped from the hands.

One day, while walking in the park, she noticed that some of the ideas are constantly harassed her, disappeared. Again focusing on them, Francine realized ... that it's not scary!

As a result of exercise reduced anxiety levels, people can more realistically perceive what they worried

"I was shocked: as soon as I get back to his disturbing reflections, my eyes began to move involuntarily from side to side and diagonally up and down - she recalls. - When I moved them deliberately, the pain from the painful memories disappear. Moreover, replaced in the style of sensation and thought, "I am powerless," "to me that something is not right," came the other, "it's all in the past," "I have a choice."

Shapiro asked friends, colleagues, and members of the psychological workshop that she attended, do the same exercise. The results were striking: the level of anxiety decreased, people could more realistically perceive that their care. So by chance a new technique of psychotherapy was opened in 1987.

This event prompted Francine Shapiro receive psychological education and defend a thesis in clinical psychology. For several years she worked at the Institute for Brain Research in Palo Alto (USA). In 2002 she was awarded the prize of Sigmund Freud - the most important award in the world of psychotherapy. Detailed description of the unique psychotherapeutic methods - EMDR art, particularly effective in the treatment of trauma, Shapiro given in the book "Psychotherapy trauma using the eye movements. Basic principles, protocols and procedures. "

What is EMDR

EMDR (Desensitization and study injuries eye movement) - psychotherapeutic technique that is most commonly used in the treatment of emotional trauma. Eye movements trigger natural healing process of the human psyche. Since the traumatic event blocks the processes of its self-regulation, feelings, images, thoughts, associated with painful experiences, as if "stuck" in it. And thanks to EMDR they begin to be processed rapidly.

EMDR as a way to work with trauma

Francine Shapiro, the technique called "technique of desensitization and study injuries eye movement" (EMDR). The word "desensitization" can be translated as "the sensitivity of withdrawal". Therapists around the world today, in addition to the classical methods used in its work with those who have experienced emotional trauma, sexual violence, the horrors of war, was the victim of a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, saw the death of others.

"Such situations are beyond ordinary human experience, - explains psychotherapist Natalya Rasskazova. - If such a traumatic event happened at a time when people were particularly vulnerable, his mind can not cope with this experience. "

After months or even years it can pursue obsessional thoughts and painful memories. Their images are so bright that people feel every time the realism of what is happening: not only remembers, but again and again experiencing the same fear, pain, fear and helplessness. EMDR technique in just a few sessions can improve the condition. And it helps in the treatment of various phobias, dependency, depression, schizophrenia, anorexia and even at the initial stage of the disease. Little contraindications: severe mental conditions, some heart disease and eye.

Freedom in the blink of an eye

As used EMDR in

Directional movement of the eyes - the basis of this technique. "For most of us it is difficult to arbitrarily control the muscles responsible for eye movements - explains Francine Shapiro. - It is easier to continue the movement, concentrating the vision on the hand therapist. " Usually he keeps his fingers, a pencil or a ruler vertically at a distance of 30-35 centimeters from the patient's face. One focusing on painful memories, or sensation, and without interrupting the story, at the same time watching the eyes of the therapist's hand.

Artem 22 years old, ten years ago, he was walking in the park with her mother and brother when they were attacked by hooligans. "All these years I was tormented by horrible memories - says Artem - and dreamed the same nightmare: I'm trying to get away from something terrible, but I can not move and feel like falling into some deep, narrow pit ... I became a Party to communicate with new people, it seemed to me that everyone was looking at me with conviction, as if to say: "you jerk, you are unable to protect themselves and their loved ones."

Because of EMDR technique memories are no longer accompanied by strong negative emotions

During the first meeting, the therapist asked Artem remember the worst episode of that tragic day - when one of the attackers pulled out a knife. "I focused on this stage, following the gaze of the stick, which the therapist spent in front of my eyes from left to right. I seemed about as it was before, begin to choke, but I always saw the hand of the therapist, and she seemed to have kept. A few minutes later the therapist asked again about what I see and what I feel. I once described the same scene, but felt that the old emotions have disappeared: it was not so painful to me. "

"There is no magic here is not present, - says Natalya Rasskazova. - Artem continued psychotherapy, but the first meetings in which the therapist works with the help of EMDR technique, allowed to remove the acuteness of feelings: a few sessions has changed the perception of what happened to him. His feeling of "I'm a coward and a jerk" was replaced by confidence: "Surviving is not a shame." Thanks to the technique of EMDR tragic event has become one of the many facts of human life, the memories are no longer accompanied by strong negative emotions.

If you work with the eyes difficult

In some diseases of the eye (for example, severe myopia) or in a situation where monitoring the hand therapist associated with traumatic memories (for example, about how a child's parents hit the child on the face), the therapist uses as an incentive tapping on the hand or the sound of . Tapping on the arm are performed as follows: the patient sits down with his hands on his knees, palms up. Psychotherapist (one or two fingers) alternating rhythmically tapping on them. When he clicks sound stimulation fingers then one, then another client's ear at approximately the same rate as in the series of eye movements.

The principle of action of EMDR

There is no single answer to the question why this technique is so effective. Psychologists and neuroscientists are studying and test several hypotheses.

The first of them - a model of rapid processing of information. Francine Shapiro suggests that psyche, as the body has an innate ability to self-regulate.

"The brain involuntarily transforms all the information about what is happening to us, that disturbs and troubles us, - says Natalya Rasskazova. - It encodes the data, neutralize them and sent to storage. It allows the mind to adapt to a variety of situations. But the physical and psychological trauma, stress block the natural processes of self-regulation. Emotions, images, thoughts, sensations associated with painful memories, as if stuck in the memory of the way they were at the time of the traumatic event. As a result, people not only can not forget them, but it becomes difficult to remember and your positive feelings. "

Eye movements activate the natural healing powers of the organism: they trigger processes that unlocks the neural network of the brain, which is "stored" traumatic experience, and he begins to rapidly processed.

The eye movements from side to side cause-sequence hemispheric activation and simultaneous processing of information

Francine Shapiro does not exclude that EMDR technique also activates the brain processes that occur in it, and during the phase of "rapid eye movement", which is accompanied by an active movement of the eyes. At this point, the brain processes the received information during wakefulness and stores it in memory.

In addition, studies show that EMDR technique synchronizes the rhythms of the brain hemispheres.

"They have different emotions are processed - continues Natalia Rasskazova. - The left hemisphere has to deal with what causes positive emotions, right - transforms negative feelings. If we put on an object to the right of us, it will cause a positive emotional response than fixing gaze on to the left objects. A movement of the eyes from side to side-sequence causes the activation of the hemispheres and the synchronous processing information. "

The controversy surrounding EMDR

Ever since its inception, EMDR technique has been the subject of active scientific debate.

"Many professionals is difficult to assume that our brains can be" reset "- explains the vice-president of the French association of psychotherapists practicing EMDR, Jacques Rock. Until now, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists proceeded from the fact that the cure can only words that one person said, and the other heard.

On the psychological problems discussed only in terms of meaning: for those who survived the trauma, it was a meeting with death. But now we realize that the most important role played by biological healing work of the brain: the mind is inseparable from its neurological "carrier". You can restart the processing of information, and sometimes exotic ways that are contrary to the generally accepted ideas about what to healing takes time. Maybe we should just hard to accept the fact that our brain, like any computer, amenable to reprogramming?

Who can use this technique in your work?

As in any psychotherapy, client state between sessions may vary. He can "float" the memories of other unpleasant events, for example, from early childhood. That is why the use EMDR technique should only doctors, therapists or clinical psychologists, who can, if necessary, to provide emergency assistance, including medical.

"But even a well-trained professional can not guarantee success using EMDR technique with each person - warns Francine Shapiro. - It is not a panacea and is most often used in combination with other therapies. But, of course, EMDR helps just a few meetings to remove the acuteness of feelings. "