Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive therapeutic approach originated by psychologist Francine Shapiro used to address disturbing life experiences and blocking beliefs that contribute to psychological difficulties. How we perceive ourselves in a particular situation is based on prior experiences, so  when a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Using the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, EMDR seems to stimulate the information and allows the brain to reprocess the experience. Through bi-lateral stimulation, whether through eye movements, tactile taps, or auditory tones, the brain reprocesses the unconscious material from "here-and-now" to the adaptive memory network.

The eight phases guided by the AIP model have been validated in approximately twenty randomized controlled trials and numerous other studies, beginning in 1995. EMDR is endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Department of Defense, and the Veteran's Administration, and is compatible with all the major orientations of psychotherapy. It is widely used in the treatment of PTSD as well as anxiety disorders, performance anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder, attachment disorder, and depressive disorders*.

Another modality of EMDR is Peak Performance, used by athletes as well as business leaders. It involves removing performance blocks resulting from injury or traumatic experiences and enables new programming of the mind by strengthening visualization of desired performance. During Peak Performance therapy, mental blocks are removed and replaced by adaptive, high-functioning perspectives and beliefs.

Additional information regarding EMDR can be found at www.emdrnetwork.org