What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a revolutionary method of psychotherapy proven to help heal individuals suffering from emotional trauma such as post-traumatic stress syndrome. EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. in the late 1980’s when she discovered a connection between her own anxious thoughts and an immediate increase in eye movements. She began experimenting with herself and others by intentionally recalling intense emotions in combination with rapid lateral eye movements. Dr. Shapiro found the overwhelming majority of subjects experienced a reduced impact from the negative memories or emotions and in many cases, gained self-esteem and confidence.  She also found through her experiments that after a series of eye movements the disruptive thought faded and had less emotional influence when recalled later.

How does EMDR work?

The reason why EMDR therapy is so effective is linked to the science behind REM sleep. Sleep theorist, Jonathan Winston, states that mammals process survival information during REM sleep. What happens during the day is committed to memory to be recalled if a similar situation is presented in the future. In a way, EMDR mimics REM sleep by producing similar brainwave patterns, a succession of rapid lateral eye movements, and muscle relaxation. It is theorized that during both EMDR and REM, an individual processes thoughts more rapidly than normal. This is why a few minutes of dreaming can feel like an eternity. Read more about Jonathan Winston’s sleep theory analysis in Shapiro’s book EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy in Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma.

How does EMDR affect the creative process?

In recent years, professional have successfully integrated EMDR therapy with several other creative resources to enhance the therapeutic experience. Flexibility and a creative outlook are an integral part of a clinician’s structure of guided therapy. Although EMDR requires a prior professional evaluation and may not be suited for everyone, it provides a unique approach for anyone struggling with problems ranging from PTSD and anxiety to depression, rage, fears, and chronic pain.