What is EMDR?


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Click here to find the answers to the following questions, plus additional FAQs on EMDR.

  1. Is EMDR a one-session cure?
  2. Is EMDR an effective treatment for PTSD?
  3. Are treatment effects maintained over time?
  4. Is EMDR effective in the treatment of phobias, panic disorder, or agoraphobia?
  5. What elements of EMDR contribute to its effectiveness?
  6. What results can I expect with EMDR?
  7. How many sessions will it take?
  8. How do I find a qualified clinicians?
  9. How do I know EMDR would work for me?
  10. Am I a candidate for EMDR?

Information from www.emdr.com

EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment that has been in use for over 20 years and has successfully helped over a million individuals who have survived trauma, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, combat, crime, and those suffering from depression, addictions, phobias and self-esteem issues.

EMDR is a complex method of therapy that integrates many of the successful elements of a range of therapeutic approaches in combination with eye movements or other forms of rhythmical stimulation in ways that stimulate the brain's information processing system.

With EMDR therapy it is unnecessary to delve into decades-old psychological material, but rather, by activating the information-processing system of the brain, people can achieve their therapeutic goals at a rapid rate, with recognizable changes that don't disappear over time.

Fourteen controlled studies support the efficacy of EMDR, making it the most thoroughly researched method ever used in the treatment of trauma. The most recent 5 studies with individuals suffering from events such as rape, combat, loss of a loved one, accidents, natural disasters, etc. have found that 84-90% no longer had post-traumatic stress disorder after only three treatment sessions.

A recent study financed by Kaiser Permanente revealed that EMDR was twice as effective in half the amount of time compared to the standard traditional care. However, though many people show dramatic responses in a short amount of time, there are also those who will progress more slowly and that the slower progression is not abnormal. Just as in any therapy, we all progress at the rate appropriate to the individual and the clinical situation.

The major significance of EMDR is that it allows the brain to heal its psychological problems at the same rate as the rest of the body is healing its physical ailments. Because EMDR allows minds and body to heal at the same rate, it is effectively making time irrelevant in therapy. Given its wide application, EMDR promises to be the therapy of the future.

Dr. Francine Shapiro is the creator of EMDR. She is a licensed psychologist and a senior research fellow at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto. She is the Executive Director of the EMDR Institute, which trains clinicians in the EMDR method. She is the recipient of the 1993 Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award presented by the California Psychological Association.

For more information on EMDR, please visit Dr. Shapiro's website.

EMDR was placed in the "A" category as strongly recommended for the treatment of trauma."

Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (2004). VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress. Washington, DC.