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The Role of Alternating Bilateral Stimulation in Establishing Positive Cognition in EMDR Therapy

Written by: Amano T, Toichi M (2016)

Edited by: EMDR-Zone Editorial Team

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With the incorporation of bilateral stimulation, EMDR is redefining therapeutic outcomes, possibly offering quicker and more impactful relief. Dive into the details in this comprehensive study.

Make your positive memories work for you.

Purpose of the Study

The research titled "The Role of Alternating Bilateral Stimulation in Establishing Positive Cognition in EMDR Therapy: A Multi-Channel Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study" aims to explore the impact of alternating bilateral stimulation (BLS) on enhancing positive cognition during Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This is achieved by measuring the oxygenated hemoglobin concentration in the brain, specifically from the prefrontal cortex to the temporal cortex, during the recall of pleasant memories with or without BLS.

Understanding EMDR and PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a prolonged stress reaction to traumatic events. EMDR is a recognized method for treating PTSD. The therapy involves two main stages: desensitizing traumatic memories and establishing positive cognition, known as Resource Development and Installation (RDI). A unique feature of EMDR is the use of BLS, which involves alternating bilateral visual (like eye movements), auditory, or sensory stimulation (such as tactile stimulation).

BLS in RDI - A Controversial Element

While the effect of BLS in desensitizing traumatic memories is known, its role in RDI is debated. Some studies suggest that BLS might hinder the RDI process, while others advocate its importance. Previous clinical studies have shown that BLS, especially alternating bilateral tactile stimulation, was essential in RDI for patients with chronic pain and dementia.

Study Methodology and Participants