Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. EMDR is an evidence-based treatment that can be used to treat a variety of mental health issues, such as trauma, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. It is based on the idea that traumatic experiences can be processed and resolved by bringing awareness to them and reprocessing the memory in a healthy way, in other words, it’s a kind of therapy for trauma.
The core of EMDR therapy is the use of bilateral stimulation, which is a combination of eye movements, hand tapping, or auditory tones that are used to stimulate the left and right sides of the brain. This stimulation helps to activate the brain’s natural healing processes to help the client reprocess and make sense of the traumatic memory. During the session of trauma therapy, the therapist will guide the client through a set of steps that include both discussing the traumatic memory and using the bilateral stimulation to help the client move through the experience.
In addition to the use of bilateral stimulation, EMDR therapy also incorporates other therapeutic techniques such as cognitive restructuring, mindfulness, and relaxation strategies. The goal of the therapy is to help the client gain insight into the experience, and to help them develop healthier coping strategies through the trauma healing therapy.