EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
What does EMDR stand for?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. In 1987 US psychologist Francine Shapiro discovered by chance that psychological sensitivities and disturbances can be influenced by rapid eye movement.
At the time, Shapiro noticed that as soon as a disturbing thought came into her mind she would move her eyes rapidly back and forth horizontally to reduce or even dissolve the emotional and mental strain that accompanied the thoughts. She believed that it was these eye movements that appeared to be responsible for ensuring that the negative thought once again disappeared from her consciousness. She then intentionally initiating rapid eye movement as soon as she noticed a negative thought. Because she noticed positive changes from this intervention, she began to experiment with such intentional rapid eye movements with her friends and acquaintances. The success encouraged her to conduct further research resulting by the late 1980s in the development in the EMDR process as a form of psychotherapy for treating trauma disorders. EMDR can be used to treat trauma disorders in adults, adolescents, and children.
EMDR in practice
EMDR contains elements of many effective psychotherapy approaches that are used in a structured way to achieve an optimal treatment outcome. These include somatic, interpersonal, cognitive-behavioural, and psychodynamic elements. EMDR therapy also focuses on building up the patient’s psychological strength and processing the traumatic experiences that have played a role in triggering numerous mental illnesses. This method has been use in Germany since about 1991.
Although EMDR is a highly effective method, EMDR is not free from side effects and contraindications. Read about the possible side effects of EMDR.