Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)


I was trained in 2014 through the EMDR Institute and utilize this evidenced based psychotherapy on a daily basis in my practice. I utilize CBT and Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy, in conjunction with EMDR with adolescents and adults.

About EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an information processing therapy that uses an eight-phase approach to address the experiential contributors of a wide range of pathologies. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health. EMDR Institute, Inc.

EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way. It also allows the person to be able to live more in the present and allow traumas and stressors to remain in the past. In other words, the memory is still there, but it is not as distressing to the individual.

History of EMDR

In 1987, Francine Shapiro was walking in the park when she realized that eye movements appeared to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories. She assumed that eye movements had a desensitizing effect, and when she experimented with this she found that others also had the same response to eye movements. It became apparent however that eye movements by themselves did not create comprehensive therapeutic effects and so Shapiro added other treatment elements, including a cognitive component, and developed a standard procedure that she called Eye Movement Desensitization (EMD).

Shapiro continued to develop this treatment approach, incorporating feedback from clients and other clinicians who were using EMD. In 1991 she changed the name to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to reflect the insights and cognitive changes that occurred during treatment, and to identify the information processing theory that she developed to explain the treatment effects.

What it can be used to treat

  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Adjustment to life stressors
  • Disturbing Memories
  • Fears and Phobias
  • First Responder Trauma
  • Intimate Violence
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Natural Disasters
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Pain Disorders
  • Panic Attacks
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Physical Abuse
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Robbery
  • Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse
  • Stress Reduction
  • Uncomplicated and Complicated Grief