How does EMDR work? An exploration of possible neurobiological mechanisms
This discussion explores, briefly, the position that the repetitive redirecting of attention in EMDR is capable of turning on the brain's REM sleep system, leading to the activation of specific areas of the the anterior cortex of the cingulate gyrus, facilitating its function as a filter, thereby facilitating the integration of traumatic memory into general semantic networks. This integration is seen to lead to the subsequent reduction in both the strength of hippocampally mediated episodic memories of the traumatic event as well as the amygdaloid mediated negative affect of PTSD. The possibility is suggested that another underlying mechanisms of EMDR stimulation is the activation of the lateral cerebellum. The contribution of the cerebellum to cognitive and language functions is explored. The activation of the dentate nuclei in the lateral neocerebellum is shown to facilitate activation of the ventrolateral and central lateral thalamic nuclei. The activation of the ventrolateral nucleus is shown to lead to the activation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; further facilitating the integration of traumatic memory into general semantic and other neocortical networks
Original Work Citation
Bergmann, U. (1999, November). How does EMDR work? An exploration of possible neurobiological mechanisms. Presentation at the International Society for the Study of Dissociation 16th Annual International Conference, Miami, FL
“How does EMDR work? An exploration of possible neurobiological mechanisms,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 21, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/16037.