Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR is a scientifically validated method of psychotherapy. It was conceived of and developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro beginning in 1987 as a method to resolve disturbing emotional material that results from traumatic or disturbing events. Originally EMDR was used specifically for treating traumas such as those experienced by veterans of war, or victims of violent or sexual assault. Since then, EMDR has been adapted and refined and is now used to effectively treat a broad spectrum of clinical issues including depression, anxiety and panic, phobias, child abuse, OCD, grief, performance anxiety, addictions and eating disorders.
EMDR is quite a bit more than a simple technique characterized solely by the use of eye movement. It is an information processing therapy that is comprised of principles, procedures and protocols grounded in psychological theory, psychological science and neurological research on how the brain processes information and generates consciousness.
In the broadest sense, EMDR is intended to alleviate human suffering and assist individuals and human society to fulfill their potential for development while minimizing risks of harm in its application. For the client, the aim of EMDR treatment is to achieve the most profound and comprehensive treatment effects in the shortest period of time, while maintaining client stability within a balanced family and social system. EMDR is founded on the premise that each person has both an innate tendency to move toward health and wholeness, and the inner capacity to achieve it.
The goals of EMDR include the relief of emotional distress, the mobilization of adaptive responses and an increased understanding of the self. EMDR utilizes one or more forms of bilateral stimulation: eye movements, alternating sounds or alternating taps. This bilateral stimulation, in combination with the other specific procedural steps, has been found to enhance information processing, decrease the vividness or intrusiveness of disturbing memories, enhance one's ability to access adaptive information and create new, positive associations between current information and past experiences.
EMDR is currently practiced by over 40,000 trained and licensed psychotherapists worldwide. Some professionals at New Passages employ EMDR methods as an adjunctive therapy within standard cognitive therapy or as a treatment in and of itself. Diane Edmond, Nancy Einsel, Jessica Hart, Lynn Loomis and Barbara Turk are all EMDR trained and have received Level I and II training from affiliates of EMDRIA®- the EMDR International Association - based in Austin, Texas.