Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro starting in 1988 in which the person being treated is asked to recall distressing images; the therapist then directs the patient in one type of bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye movements or hand tapping.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories.
After successful treatment with EMDR therapy, affective distress is relieved, negative beliefs are reformulated, and physiological arousal is reduced. During EMDR therapy the client attends to emotionally disturbing material in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus.
EMDR is thought to be effective because recalling distressing events is often less emotionally upsetting when your attention is diverted. This allows you to be exposed to memories or thoughts without having a strong psychological response.
Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion).
While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help.