Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) was discovered by chance when Dr. Francine Shapiro was walking through nature while having distressing thoughts. She ran with the idea that shifting eye movements help decrease distress and began to practice with the PTSD population. She later continued to discover, not only the current treatment protocol for EMDR but also the significance of bi-lateral stimulation in healing trauma.
It is noted through research that our right from hemisphere becomes less willing to function during traumatic events. Due to such decreased functioning people are often considered traumatized or stuck in fragmented parts of selves or situations. EMDR works with a trained therapist to bi-laterally stimulate your brain with eye movements or tappers while keeping dual awareness to reprocess your past. Through the process healing is happening. After about 4-5 processing sessions most clients notice a significant decrease in symptoms.
It should be noted that many people who suffer from trauma have poor sleep patterns often missing the element of Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. Healing typically happens during REM sleep. Bi-lateral stimulation could be viewed as mimicking REM sleep while you are awake to help with healing.
EMDR is at 8 step protocol that should only be used by trained EMDR therapist with EMDRIA approved training. The beginning stages of EMDR is all about resourcing to help identify your inner strengths and balance as we reprocess in later stages. Over time the goal would be to decrease the need for psychotropic medications and heal past traumas to find your life worth living again.