Eye Movement Desensitization
What is EMDR?
EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987, after experiencing relief from her own painful memories as she walked in the woods. She was moving her eyes from side to side as she thought about some events and the eye movements seem to help.
When Shapiro recalled her traumatic memories, her eye movements appeared to correspond with the memories becoming less and less bothersome. She began to study the method and eventually did case studies and clinical research on the technique.
Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help. Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts.
When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.”
EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.” EMDRIA.org
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue, or homework between sessions.
EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories.
Part of the therapy includes alternating eye movements, sounds, or taps. For many clients, EMDR therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than other psychotherapies. EMDRIA.org