Dr. Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in the early 1990s. Originally, EMDR was used only to help clients with trauma, but has now been significantly expanded to help clients who are struggling with depression, anxiety, fears, addictive/compulsive behaviors, and negative everyday experiences.
I have found that EMDR helps my clients get unstuck when they feel like they can’t overcome some disturbing memories or behaviors. EMDR is largely non-verbal, clients process the thoughts they have in their minds, feelings, and any sensations in their bodies. The only verbal part of EMDR is the brief description you give to the therapist about what is happening and sometimes you are lightly guided by the therapist. A client begins EMDR by talking about their bad memories and identifying negative thoughts about themselves and assessing how disturbing the memory is to them. Then the client participates by making right/left eye movements, or sounds, without speaking, and they begin to notice what thoughts or emotions they have. Often, clients notice that their thoughts and emotions begin to shift to all kinds of memories. What I have experienced is that at the end of the session, the disturbance usually subsides, often significantly.
I am a certified EMDR practitioner and have been using this method regularly with clients since 2006. I offer EMDR as an individual method of therapy or as an adjunct to other therapies. I also work with clients who have been referred to me solely for EMDR while they continue to work with the referring therapist in cognitive (“talking”) therapy.