Development and History of EMDR

Last Updated on November 26, 2020 by Maya Hall

Today, its success has been proven with scientific evidence and the developer of EMDR, which provides training and support under the umbrella of associations in many countries, is Psychologist Francine Shapiro.

History of EMDR

In 1987, while walking in the park one day, psychologist Francine Shapiro coincidentally moved her eyes rhythmically to the left and right, and at that moment realized that the disturbing thoughts and feelings about certain negative memories in her mind had diminished. This observation led him to think that eye movements might have a desensitizing effect, and he began to do research on this. As a result of his research and experiments, he noticed that eye movements have a relaxing effect on others.

Francine Shapiro, who laid the foundations of EMDR by making use of therapy methods in the future, calls this method EMD (Desensitization with Eye Movements). Shapiro, which focuses on desensitizing only against the negative effects of traumas in the first place, is added to his method in the next process.

More: What is EMDR Therapy ?

Francine Shapiro has named her method EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing since 1991. Now, other types of bilateral stimulation methods can be used instead of eye movements.

There are different options such as giving a sound to both ears through a headset or a tactile stimulation rhythmically with a vibrator. That’s why Shapiro later wrote in his book: “If I had my current mind, I would just call this method Reprocessing Therapy.”

Shapiro, who saw that Emdr therapy was effective in many people in a short time and made a lot of research on this subject, established the EMDR Institute in 1990 to teach this method to other colleagues. With the widespread use of the method, especially in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the popularity of the method has gradually increased as it provides faster improvements compared to many other methods.

Since traumas can be handled quickly with EMDR, it is thought that it can be a suitable method for people who have been exposed to large-scale disasters and traumatic events, and studies have been initiated in this direction. For this purpose, a unit called EMDR HAP-Humanitarian Aid Program, which carries out voluntary work for trauma victims, was established.

Therapists enrolled in this program within the EMDR Associations; It voluntarily supports people who have been victims of earthquakes, floods and terrorism. In recent years, this therapy not only in traumatic experiences; It has been observed that it can be used effectively in many different areas such as anxiety problems, depression, anger control problems, and performance enhancement.

Many experienced experts of approaches such as Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral and Hypnotherapy have started to use method in traumas by specializing in this therapy. Many additional methods and protocols have been developed in EMDR applications; a lot of research has been done and continues to be done.

Founded in 1995, the International EMDR Association has set the training standards of therapists and ensured a similar level of education all over the world.

Lucas Berg
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