began when Dr. Francine Shapiro. a clinical psychologist, noticed that rapid rhythmic eye movements limited the ability of certain thoughts to cause emotional pain.
Meticulous systematic studies confirmed what Dr. Shapiro had discovered by accident. EMDR helps clients heal rapidly after a single-event trauma (road accident, rape, public humiliation) and recover slowly but surely from multiple-event traumas (years of abuse, parental neglect, devastating failures, social rejection and the like.) The United States Veterans Affairs Bureau, The British National Health Service and Israel’s Department of Defense all provide EMDR therapy to people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
As EMDR developed and therapists gained experience, they discovered that other forms of bilateral stimulation worked as well as eye movements.
How does EMDR produce its wonderful results?
During routine events, various parts of the brain work together to process our experiences. However, when a person is in severe emotional turmoil, the brain does not process information in its usual way. Traumatic experiences and continuing painful events can “freeze”. The processing “gets stuck”. This “standstill” can impair functioning and development, drain energy and sap the joy of living.
During our initial sessions, we will work together to pinpoint your current distress and your hopes for the future. With gentle guidance and support, you will be able to share painful experiences.
As we progress, you will return to these memories, while experiencing the bilateral stimulation that suits you best (eye movements, sounds, tapping on your hands or knees). This stimulates the two sides of your brain to work together to reprocess the experiences, thoughts and feelings that “got stuck”.
Is EMDR right for YOU?
After it was first discovered, EMDR therapists focused on PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). However, as time passed, we learned that EMDR is very effective therapy for other forms of “stuckness” – entrenched anger, low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, fear of forming close relationships, and the like.
This link takes you to FAQs that appeared in the New York Times, in 2012.