Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 80's to resolve traumas caused from exposure to distressing events such as rape or war time experiences. When a traumatic event occurs it can overwhelm a person's normal coping mechanisms. Memories of these traumatic events are inadequately processed by the mind and are dysfunctionally stored in isolated memory networks.

The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these disturbing memories and reduce their continuing influence in the clients's life. EMDR also helps to desensitize the level of disturbance of these upsetting memories and helps clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.

"EMDR integrates elements of different psychotherapies :Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Interpersonal, Experimental, Adlerian, Gestalt, Rogerian Client-Centered, and several other therapy types. EMDR, however, uses bilateral stimulation (eye movement, tones, or tapping) during each session, to activate the memory networks"...where traumatic events are stored. 

An unprocessed traumatic memory can retain high levels of emotional intensity, even though many years may have passed. Distressing memories are transformed with EMDR when new connections in the distressing memory network are combined with more positive and realistic information. This results in a transformation of the emotional sensory and cognitive component of the memory, so that when the person remembers the event, he is no longer distressed. 

EMDR was originally used for PTSD, but it has been also used also with depression, anxiety. childhood abuse, phobias, and complex PTSD, which develops from a history of repeated physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

EMDR has also been used in performance and creativity enhancement with athletes and stage performers, and in self-esteem building for depressed persons.