Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment was founded by Francine Shapiro in the early 80’s and has since been used by countless mental health professionals to treat traumatic injury in the brain. When you experience a trauma, which could be as simple as being bullied in the second grade, having sleep disturbance, to being in hand-to-hand combat during war, your brain changes and new neural pathways are formed. Your responses to difficult life situations and circumstances after the trauma can be altered. According to EMDRIA, In order to achieve healing and restoration in those neural pathways, EMDR assists with creating communication between the amygdala (your fight, flight, freeze response) and the hippocampus (learning memories about safety and danger) and the prefrontal cortex (your thinking part of the brain that controls and analyzes behavior and emotion) (EMDRIA EMDR International Association, EMDRIA.org).
When you visit a therapist requesting EMDR for trauma you will first be evaluated to make sure this is the best course of treatment, as EMDR is not for everyone. Be sure to let your therapist/counselor know if you have a seizure disorder, severe vision issue, or hearing impairment.
After evaluation you will learn some tools to use before beginning eye movements or tapping exercises. EMDR is covered by most insurance and used/endorsed regularly by the World Health Organization, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Veterans Administration, American Psychiatric Association, and National Alliance on Mental Illness. EMDR is often finished in less time than other treatment modalities, with less sessions. EMDR has empirical, evidence-based data to support its efficacy.