Eye movement desensitization (EMD) MY EXPLANATION OF IT

Copyright George Christos 2003

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Numerous reports in the literature suggest that Eye-Movement Desensitization (EMD) has had a beneficial effect on patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, yet there is no theoretical basis to support EMD.  We suggest that there may be a tentative link between the eye-movements of EMD and the (rapid) eye-movements which are characteristic of dream sleep, and that this may provide a basis for this phenomenon. 

The induced eye-movements in EMD, would activate the oculomotor neurons on the brain-stem, and it is possible that these cells may reciprocally excite the neighbouring REM-on cells in the brain-stem, which are the basis of dream sleep.  This may in turn partially activate the postulated Crick-Mitchison reverse-learning, or unlearning mechanism which occurs during REM sleep.  This process may then act to weaken the traumatic memory which is held in attention by the patient.