Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

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EyeMovement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EyeMovement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy fortrauma, mainly associated with psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro.During her observation, Shapiro noted that eye movement reducesdisturbing thoughts intensity, thus reducing stress when eyes sweepback and forth. According to the article, EMDR includes cognitivebehavioral therapy elements, together with the bilateral movement ofthe eyes (Bartson&amp Corcoran, 2014).One notable element of EMDR is the dual stimulation whereby the onesuffering from trauma thinks or talks about painful memories whilestill focusing the eyes on the therapist’s moving finger or anyform of bilateral stimuli such as alternating hand taps.

Inoutlining how EMDR therapy works, the article states that during atraumatic event, the strong emotions disrupt one’s ability todigest the experience. Remembering of the traumatic occasion makesone feel like he or she is reliving the event all over again.Activating these memories causes a negative effect on the dailyfunctioning of the affected individual, thus interfering with how oneperceives the world. EDMR therapy comes in to unfreeze the traumaticmemories as it directly affects the brain. Rapid eye movements helpin relieving the anxiety associated with the trauma, enabling one toaccess ways of reprocessing the trauma, thus releasing the body fromthe negative emotional charges through desensitization (Bartson&amp Corcoran, 2014).In other terms, EMDR can also be referred as the psychologicaltherapy that enables an individual to see a traumatic event in a newand less distressing perspective. The process also helps in cognitivereorganization, which replaces painful emotions with resolved andempowered feelings. In illustrating how trauma affects people’slives, Shapiro uses a rape survivor to show trapping by memories oftrauma. According to her, a woman who has been raped feels like sheis reliving the event as similar situations trigger the rapememories.

EMDRhas eight phases process in ensuring beneficial and lasting results.The first phase includes history and planning of the treatment. Atherapist takes initial client notes to help him or her develop atreatment plan. The second phase is preparation whereby the therapistteaches the patient self-care techniques to assist the patient inhandling strong emotions that arise during therapy sessions. In thethird stage, which is assessment stage, a patient clarifies thevisual image of the trauma. The patient also identifies a negativeand positive belief associated with the traumatic event (Bartson&amp Corcoran, 2014).Other phases include desensitization, installation, body scan,closure, and reevaluation. Phases 4 to 6 involve processing of thetrauma. Therapist helps a patient recall the target image,accompanied by rapid eye movements. The split attention between theinternal image and the external stimuli, which is the therapist`smoving finger, enables the patient to experience distressing memory,helping him or her to reframe and process the trauma. Closure occurswhen a patient attains an emotional equilibrium while reevaluationhelps the therapist to decide use new or revisit old targets to helpin extra reprocessing.

EMDRhas some benefits. One, it does not go into detail regarding thetrauma. It is also capable of understanding the origin of a problemsince it works on mind, body, and emotions simultaneously. It is alsobeneficial since the re-experienced trauma is short-lived (Bartson&amp Corcoran, 2014).EMDR also has some shortcomings, which include ineffectiveness in thetreatment of panic or stress disorders. It is also ineffective forthose who have eye problems.


Bartson,s., &amp Corcoran, C. (2014). EMDR Therapy: A Guide to Making anInformed Choice. EMDRTherapy A Guide to Making an Informed Choice.Retrieved from http://www.anapsys.co.uk/emdr.pdf