EMDR and Spirituality

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic model designed to help people overcome traumatic events that have somehow impaired their brain function, mental health, and overall well-being.  In it’s 25 years of existence it has helped innumerable people to live happier, healthier lives.  Something that often goes unrecognized is the spirituality that can complement EMDR and make it more meaningful for the people who benefit from it.  Spirituality has to do with all the things that help one feel more connected to something greater than themselves:  God, all humanity, the universe, etc.  Spirituality is not limited to religious practices, but many people practice religion as a way to express their spirituality.  

One of the ways EMDR can help people with spirituality is through the use of resources.  Resources in the practice of EMDR can be anything that helps people to feel grounded, supported, protected, and so forth.  EMDR practitioners try to help their clients in developing and using resources as a way to help prepare them for the work of facing and working through traumatic material or disturbing events in their lives.  These resources can be practically anything that helps in this regard:  positive people and relationships from clients past, imaginary protectors, religious figures, superheroes, etc.  When these resources are used both in and out of the session by clients who are properly instructed how to use them, they can become powerful influences for the entirety of these individuals lives.  They can go back to the past to right wrongs, they can help clients cope in the present with challenging circumstances, and they can help set the stage for a positive and fulfilling future for clients.  

One might think these are just figments of the imagination for the people that use them.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The reality is that these resources tie into particular parts of the person that need to be brought online to address specific problems accessing the resources via bilateral stimulation (via eye movements, tapping on both sides of the body, etc.) is a way to bring one's forces together at the same time to address a particular challenge. This can either be in the past or the present situation or in the future as well. Sometimes these  resources are religious symbols, people, or are individuals from particular religious tradition that speak to the individual on a deep and fundamental level. They don't have to be strictly religious, but they could be also inspirational figures that help people relate to particular strengths, or capacities they want to drawn to meet particular challenge. In any case, resources serve a particular function from the visuals that can be empowering uplifting and ultimately to give them a greater sense of connection with success with perseverance and with overcoming particular challenge.

A skilled therapist will help people identify what resources they need to help them best recover from whatever issues they are struggling with. EMDR therapy is a process in which the therapist will serve to facilitate a number of different resources at an appropriate time for the individual to do the work they need to do in overcoming dysfunctional or traumatic material that has kept them from being successful functional or achieving their desired goals.

In this sense therapy serves to help bring, therapy and spirituality together to help the individual become as functional, healthy, and successful as possible.