Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a scientifically validated integrative psychotherapy. It is a process that was discovered by Dr. Francine Shapiro, a psychologist in Palo Alto in 1987. It is based on the philosophy that human beings are capable under appropriate conditions of naturally moving toward greater health and integration. When a stressful or traumatic event occurs, it seems to get locked in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts and feelings. This information can become distorted and significantly can significantly affect our feelings about these events. The eye movements used in EMDR appear to unlock the nervous system which allows the brain to re-integrate positive information. The procedure includes reprocessing of negative, distorted self-thoughts associated with the trauma to positive, true self-beliefs.
The repetitive eye movements stimulate optical nerve clusters to loosen disturbing thoughts, which are frozen and stored, and process them to resolution. Simply by providing side-to-side, bi-lateral stimulation to a person while discussing traumatic events or feelings of any kind in a specific therapeutic fashion, EMDR works wonders in allowing a person to heal. The key seems to be the alternating stimulation of the right and left sides of the brain.
Theories & Research
EMDR has had more published case reports and research to support it than any other method used in the treatment of trauma. Over 20,000 clinicians have been trained worldwide. In many ways is has shown to be more effective and easier to access than hypnotherapy. It is a proven technique for working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, self-limiting beliefs, and hard to break patterns.
Below is a link to a short video outlining the theories and research behind EMDR. Here from experts in the field like Bessel van der Kolk, David Grand, Janina Fisher and more on how EMDR works. This will also give you links to some great research resources!
Our EMDR Therapists
Sherry O'Malley, MA LP (Andover & Plymouth)
Katie Shaw, MSW LICSW (Andover)
Pat Johnson, MA LMFT (Blaine)
Allison Merriman, MA LMFT (Andover)
Holly Traynor, MA LMFT (Blaine & St. Paul)
Emily Axen, MSW LGSW (St. Paul)
Alison Perry, MA LPCC (Ramsey)
Sheila Kosek, MSW LICSW LADC (Plymouth)
Michelle Strafelda, MA (St. Paul)
Eric Anfinson, MS (Andover & St. Paul)