• Theory behind EMDR therapy

    The Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model is the theory behind EMDR therapy & how the brain processes traumatic information. 

    According to the AIP model, our brain links similar traumatic experiences together, based on what we learned from those experiences.

    So, let’s use the example of the concept of trust.

    For non-traumatized people, there may be a neural network related to and organized around trust experiences/learning.

    In contrast, a traumatized person will have a neural network organized around the belief, I can’t trust others.

    This network links all the experiences that have been seen as ‘proof’ that others can’t be trusted.

    Beliefs learned through trauma are assigned more importance by our brains because it is being processed through our thereat response system where things are weighed as life or death.

    This means this neural network is sensitized & more likely to get activated by anything related to trust, no matter how tangentially.

    At the same time, our brains tend to look for confirmatory evidence of what we already believe, and because the threat response system is activated it will also tend to ignore other information as irrelevant. EMDR therapy is effective because it both brings down the activation level of this neural network (I can’t trust) and because it helps your brain connect to existing, adaptive information you may have (such as knowing you have a BFF you can trust).