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BLS in EMDR (and other Acronyms)

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Hey there! We want to tell you more about a key element called bilateral stimulation (BLS) in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). If you're like most people, you're probably thinking, "What the heck is BLS? Is it like a dance move or something?" Well, not exactly. Let me explain.

First, a bit of background. EMDR is a type of therapy that helps people process traumatic memories and overcome negative emotions associated with them. It's based on the idea that traumatic experiences can get "stuck" in the brain and cause all sorts of problems, from anxiety to depression to PTSD. By reprocessing these memories in a safe and controlled environment, people can learn to cope with them more effectively and move on with their lives. Check out my other posts on the topic of EMDR.

Eye Ball preparing for EMDR BLS
Eye Ball engaged in bilateral stimulation

Now, onto BLS. Basically, it involves stimulating the brain in a rhythmic and alternating way, using things like eye movements, tapping, or sounds. The idea is that this stimulation helps the brain process traumatic memories more effectively, by activating both hemispheres of the brain at the same time. It's kind of like doing a brain dance, if you will.

So why bilateral? Well, because the brain is divided into two hemispheres (left and right), and they process information differently. The left side is more logical and analytical, while the right side is more creative and intuitive. By stimulating both sides at the same time, we can help the brain integrate these different types of information and create new neural pathways.

But why eye movements specifically? Good question! The truth is, we're not entirely sure. Some researchers think it has to do with the way eye movements activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is involved in relaxation and digestion. Others think it has to do with the way eye movements mimic the natural process of dreaming, which is also thought to be involved in memory processing.

But honestly, who cares why it works? The important thing is that it does work, and that it's helped countless people overcome their trauma and live happier, more fulfilling lives. Plus, it's a great excuse to tell your friends and family that you're going to therapy to learn how to do the brain dance. Who wouldn't want to learn that?

So there you have it, folks. Bilateral stimulation in EMDR might sound weird and wacky, but it's actually a pretty cool and effective way to help the brain process traumatic memories. And if anyone asks you why you're doing the brain dance, just tell them you're getting your therapy groove on. They'll be jealous they're not doing it too.

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