EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a powerful and efficient tool for psychotherapy. It has helped over ½ million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress. It was created by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987, and incorporates elements from different treatment approaches.
What happens during EMDR?
Part of the therapy includes brief periods where clients watch an object moving in front of them, causing their eyes to move back and forth. This is called Alternating Bilateral Stimulation, and has a direct affect on the way the brain functions. A similar process occurs during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), a normal cycle of sleep where the eyes move back and forth facilitating the brain to store all the events of the day. EMDR allows the brain to process the client’s material very efficiently, and then, fairly quickly there is calm and resolution.
Is there any research showing EMDR works?
Much research has been done on EMDR. A study in 1995 demonstrated that clients improved significantly with EMDR treatment, and their results were long lasting. A bibliography of research on EMDR can be found at EMDRIA.org
What problems are helped by EMDR?
While EMDR was originated for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), it is now recognized as helpful for many conditions, i.e. anxiety, depression, codependence, complicated grief, panic attacks.
How long does EMDR take?
How long it takes depends upon what has caused the problem. If the problem was severe and reoccurring, then it takes longer to clear than a single trauma event. The latter may only take a few sessions to resolve.
To see EMDR in action, watch this video of Colleen West, MFT, from EMDRinaction.com