EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is an innovative clinical treatment that has successfully helped over a million individuals who have survived trauma, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, combat, crime, and those suffering from a number of other complaints including depressions, addictions, phobias and a variety of self-esteem issues.
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.
Controlled studies of victims of Vietnam combat, rape, molestation, accident, catastrophic loss and natural disaster indicate that the method is capable of a rapid desensitization of traumatic memories, including a cognitive restructuring and a significant reduction of client symptoms (e.g., emotional distress, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares. There are more controlled studies to date on EMDR than on any other method used in the treatment of trauma.
EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. in 1987, and to date over 30,000 licensed mental health therapists in 52 countries have been trained. Because a clinical background is necessary for the effective application of EMDR, workshops are limited to mental health professionals who are licensed or certified to provide treatment. Training is considered mandatory for appropriate use (Shapiro,1991b). EMDR is a specialized approach and method that requires supervised training for full therapeutic effectiveness and client safety.
Given its wide application, EMDR promises to be the therapy of the future.