What is EMDR?


EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987. She began using this process on veterans who were suffering from post traumatic stress and found this treatment worked extremely well in relieving trauma. To date, this remarkable therapy has relieved complex symptoms in more than one million sufferers worldwide with a rapidity that almost defies belief!

With the therapist's help, the client revisits a traumatic moment or incident, and the feelings and beliefs about the incident. The therapist moves his/her hand back and forth (like a windshield wiper) and has the client watch the therapist's finger (like watching ping pong) while recalling the event. Through the eye movements, the painful incident and feelings are replaced with calmness, feelings of peacefulness and empowerment. It works quickly to end or significantly lessen many symptoms including:



  • Depression
  • Chronic Anger
  • Grief and Loss
  • Self-esteem Problems
  • Relationship Problems
  • Fear, Panic or Anxiety
  • Test or Performance Anxiety
  • "Blocks" to Achieving Peak Performance
  • Recurring Thoughts of Sexual and/or Physical Abuse, Abandonment


  • EMDR Theory

    A traumatic incident upsets the biochemical balance of the brain's information processing system. Because the normal excitatory/inhibitory balance is disturbed causing over-excitation, the imbalance prevents normal adaptive resolution leaving the incident locked in the nervous system in its original anxiety-producing form. Subsequently, negative self-assessments and their accompanying despairing affect keep a person "stuck." The eye movements seem to be the body's automatic process (similar to REM sleep) for resolving, diffusing and neutralizing traumatic information. People who are more than likely to benefit from EMDR:



  • Accident victims
  • Phobia sufferers (fear of flying, fear of spiders, etc.)
  • Police and fire fighters who are bombarded by traumatic memories
  • Those who have experienced loss (through divorce, death, being fired, etc.)
  • Those who have experienced or witnessed a disaster (violence, fires, earthquakes, sexual assault, molestation)


  • How Effective is EMDR?

    EMDR is the most thoroughly researched psychotherapy method known for the treatment of PTSD and Trauma. One recent EMDR study involving individuals suffering from trauma due to rape, military combat, loss of a loved one, natural disasters and devastating accidents, showed that 85-90% achieved significant relief from their emotional distress after only three EMDR psychotherapy sessions.

    EMDR's effects appear to be long lasting with very low relapse rate. EMDR is so effective, it is recognized and supported by the following International List of Mental Health Departments and Associations as an empirically validated psychotherapy treatment for physical and psychological trauma.

    EMDR's effects appear to be long lasting with very low relapse rate. EMDR is so effective, it is recognized and supported by the following International List of Mental Health Departments and Associations as an empirically validated psychotherapy treatment for physical and psychological trauma:



  • American Psychiatric Association (APA 2004)
  • U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs and the Department of Defense (2004)
  • International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2000)
  • United Kingdom Department of Health (2001)
  • Israeli National Council for Mental Health (2002)
  • Clinical Resource Efficiency Support Team (CREST) of Northern Ireland Department of Health (2003)
  • Dutch National Steering Committee Guidelines Mental Health Care (2003)
  • Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Healthcare (2003)
  • French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (2004)


  • How Does EMDR Create Peak Performance?

    EMDR replaces the feelings of fear and anxiety before a performance with positive images, emotions and beliefs. It is most effective for enhancing performances of actors, producers, athletes, musicians, test takers, public speakers and executives.



    EMDR Resources

    Call Debra at (714) 543-4222 or send her email at Debra@EMDRHelp.com.



    Copyright 2012 Debra Vajcner. All rights reserved.