These very simple body-based techniques have been producing incredible results over the past 20 yrs where talking-therapies have not had the desired success. Whereas an individual may need ten years of therapy to mentally understand and assimilate painful past events in order to move forward with their lives, with these practices release can be almost instantaneous.
The reason this is the case is due to traumatic experiences being stored, not in the mind, but in the very tissue of the body. Just as the experience of terror, pain, or sadness was felt physically, in order to let go of the disturbing memories, we also need to access our being on a deeper level than the mind. Memories are locked in the body producing an unsatisfactory, to say the least, relationship with our present experience which is always contacted/felt through the body itself.
A path to this deep level of stored psychic-experience can be made through with simple eye movements and be tapping on particular sensitivity-points located over the physical body. This stimulates a level of self that we cannot usually revisit, but in doing so we can restore a sense of balance to ourselves which was disturbed by our inability to fully process mental and emotional suffering endured in the past. In a safe environment, as a different person now, with new tools and techniques, gentle guidance can be given to bring the person back to a very normal, base-line emotional and mental sanity; the equilibrium which is our natural birth right.
EDMR was formulated by clinical psychologist Francis Shapiro who started using it to deal with PTSD in patients from the early 1990’s achieving remarkable 85-90% success rates. It is now widely accepted and incorporated, often, alongside more traditional psychotherapy. Somehow the body relates to thoughts through the eyes, as is the case it’s R.E.M In sleep when we process the day’s events. Here we use the eyes whilst fully conscious to process and thus let go of the memories which lead to negative thought patterns in the present. This is suggested to be attributed to the storehouse of traumatic experience being located in our primitive brains, hence the eye-movements tap into the primitively animal experience which is constantly scanning their environment to look for danger.
EFT, ’emotional freedom technique or ‘tapping’ was worked out over a period of fifteen years between 1995-2010 by engineer and Christian-minister, the US born Gary Craig. This modality is regularly practiced in conjunction with EDMR; based as it is within the same conceptual understanding that the body can be used to access and refresh a deep part of our brain with immediate effect in a way that is much more direct than working to facilitate a rational resolution through the mind.
We all have had the experience as adults that some of our beliefs and actions are not appropriate anymore, it yet, somehow we still cannot shake them. Tapping on ‘meridians’ or energy lines (kind of like a gentle form of acupuncture) stimulates the body to heal in places we just can’t usually access.
Common to both techniques is the premise that to fully relax and let go to enjoying life in the present, we have to make our peace, or ‘resolve’ painful experiences in a past, that for us all, to differing degrees contained traumatic events that we couldn’t fully deal with at the time due to their overwhelming nature. We then carry them around in our subconscious where they cause symptoms from a vague feeling of underlying tension or anxiety and fatigue, to full blown depressions, panic attacks, phobias, and disorders. These are not usually related to the present, but to past ‘traumas’, however large or small, and embodied in the animal-part of our brain that dictates the ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response. Appeal to it in words falls on deaf ears! It is primitive, which does not mean superficial, the body layer is actually deeper than the mind. Appropriately, the well-known the therapist, Besel van der Kolk titles his seminal work ‘the body keeps the score’. No simpler but truer words can be said.