EMDR Therapy – What Does EMDR Stand For?



EMDR stands for  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy.  It is a relatively new cognitive-behavioral treatment technique that combines cognitive processing and exposure methodology to treat conditioned emotional responding and other trauma-related symptoms.

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An experiment showed that EMDR-with eye movements led to a more significant reduction in distress than EMDR-without eye movements. The heart rate decreased significantly when eye movements began. Skin conductance decreased during eye movement sets as heart rate variability, and respiration rate increased significantly as eye movements continued. Orienting responses were more frequent in the eye movement than the no-eye movement condition at the start of exposure.

Findings indicate that the eye movement component in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is beneficial and is coupled with distinct psychophysiological changes that may aid in processing negative memories.


EMDR Therapy

EMDR Therapy: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, controversial cognitive treatment technique used to treat conditioned emotional and trauma-related symptoms.  The therapy aims to correct psychophysiological correlations and the effectiveness of different dual-attention tasks used during eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  This kind of treatment is rendered to people who have experienced damaging memory trauma either as a kid or an adult.

Sixty-two non-clinical participants with negative autobiographical memories received a single session of EMDR without eye movements or EMDR that included eye movements of either varied or fixed rate of speed. Subjective units of distress and vividness of the memory were recorded at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 1-week follow-up.  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing integrates well into a family systems approach.  The amount of time the complete treatment will take depends on the client’s history (s).

There are eight phases of treatment available, starting from the history of the incident and treatment planning, preparation, assessment, reprocessing, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation to ensure the treatment worked.   The goal of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems and include new ones that are needed for total health. “Processing” does not mean talking about it. “Processing” means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be “digested” and stored appropriately in your brain.

EMDR Therapy: Who is an EMDR Therapist?

EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapist are the professionals specially trained for an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for treating trauma.  EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.  The therapist uses all the protocols to treat patients.  

When was EMDR Created?

EMDR, otherwise known as Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing, was created by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.  She first discovered and developed the protocol behind EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in 1987 to help people process traumatic memories.  More information can be found at the Institute.

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