When someone is traumatized, he/she may experience such strong emotions that the brain consequently is unable to cope, becoming unable to process information as it usually does.
Distressing experiences become ‘frozen in time’. When reminders of the event occur, the stuck memory is triggered and is emotionally re-experienced in the present. As a consequence the person repeatedly relives the original unpleasant events. Remembering may feel just as bad as experiencing it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings don’t change.
Such memories can have a lasting negative effect on the way a person sees themselves, the world and other people. It can have a profoundly negative effect on all aspects of their lives. Following successful EMDR treatment, memories of such events are no longer painful when brought to mind. What happened can still be recalled, but it is no longer disturbing.
In an EMDR session it is not necessary to talk extensively about the past and yet, in a relatively short period, therapeutic healing can be achieved.