What is EMDR? Warrior, I am SO GLAD you asked!
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapy model created by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. As the story goes, Francine was dealing with a stressful situation, went for a walk in the park, and began to rapidly move her eyes back and forth. During the process, she realized that she suddenly felt less stressed, and decided to do more research about the brain and why this process was effective for her stress reduction.
Ms. Shapiro came up with an eight phase model, which is now known as EMDR, to help alleviate strong emotions that stem from trauma or other distressing situations. Through the use of bilateral stimulation (following an object with your eyes as it moves from side to side), tapping, or auditory noises while you think about the distressing situation for brief periods, your brain reprocess the emotions associated with it. This is because the eye movements mimic the same movements your eyes make in REM sleep, when much of the processing of daily events unfolds in the brain.
This means a person who has been sexually abused and comes into therapy feeling fearful and ashamed can leave an EMDR session with a drastic reduction of fear and an influx of positive beliefs such as, "I survived and I am strong."
Many people are skeptical about EMDR's effectiveness -- until they try it for themselves. EMDR is an evidence based therapy backed up by scientific research. Many people are able to heal from PTSD within a few short EMDR sessions -- progress that might otherwise take years in traditional talk therapy.
EMDR is recognized as an effective form of treatment by many leading organizations in mental health such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense.