What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

It all started with a walk in the park

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, was discovered in 1987 by a research psychologist named Francine Shapiro who was taking a walk in a park.

As she walked, she was thinking about a personal matter that was bothering her. She happened to notice that her eyes were going back and forth and that, as they did, her level of disturbance went down. Intrigued by this discovery, she began the extensive research and formulation that culminated in EMDR theory and methodology.

At the heart of EMDR is the concept of "bilateral stimulation", stimulation, either by tapping, or through headphones, on two sides of the body.

This bilateral stimulation allows trauma to process through in such a way that it no longer produces a high level of disturbance (depression, anxiety, rage or trauma).

As the following excerpt from BBC Radio 4's You and Yours (6 June, 2011) programme shows, it's been found to be incredibly useful in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Download EMDR-BBC-You-and-Yours.mp3