Eye Movement Integration is an innovative and amazingly effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other difficulties stemming from highly emotional memories. The method was originally developed by Connirae and Steve Andreas of Colorado in 1989. Since 1993, Psychologist, Danie Beaulieu has developed EMI into a comprehensive psychotherapeutic method.
When a person becomes chronically traumatised, they have not been able to fully integrate the trauma into their past. This means that whenever the memory is accessed either accidentally (i.e. through an environmental trigger, such as a smell or sight of something), or purposely, the trauma memory causes a strong emotional reaction in the traumatised person. These strong emotional reactions force the body and mind to react in an emergency response. It is as if the initial trauma is recurring in the here and now and the traumatised person is pushed into a state of hyper-arousal. In this state, the traumatised person will try and cope by a whole host of different coping strategies, for instance avoiding people or situations, ‘numbing out’, becoming angry or irritated or resorting to alcohol or drugs to manage the intense feelings. EMI treatment reactivates the natural healing processes of the brain through guiding the client through a series of eye movements. These movements permit the brain to reorganize the “charged” information in a healthy way, by diluting the original memory with counterbalancing positive information, thus liberating the emotional charge. In this way, EMI circumvents the habitual patterns of thought and avoidance that keeps the person stuck in the trauma response.
This avant-garde neurotherapeutic technique produces very rapid results, freeing the client from the problematic effects of overwhelming experiences. The technique is applicable not only to major traumas, (such as rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, victimization or witnessing of crimes, war or natural disasters), but also to any situation that may result in a chronic and uncontrollable emotional reaction. While effects vary between individuals, the use of EMI, if practiced by a competent therapist, will assist the client to more fully integrate their trauma and can help speed the therapeutic process along considerably compared to ‘talking therapies’ alone.