What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a trauma-specific psychotherapeutic method, originally developed by Francine Shapiro for adults, and used for processing emotionally stressful memories through desensitisation and via eye movements (Shapiro, 2018). The underlying theoretical model is the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which was developed by Shapiro based on observations.

It postulates that trauma and pathogenic memories are stored in isolated neuronal networks of the brain.

Basis: Adaptive Information Processing

The AIP model hypothesises that there is an inherent information processing system in the brain that is blocked when traumatic or adverse events occur, thereby locking these events in the brain with the original image, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations.

Whenever a memory of the traumatic or unwanted event arises, these images, thoughts, feelings and sensations can continue to be triggered, i.e. activated.

Unlearning trauma through EMDR

Bilateral stimulation (BLS) is thought to provide access to dysfunctionally stored information and create new neural pathways. Recent research provides evidence for further mechanisms of action and describes that exposure in combination with bilateral stimulation leads to „unlearning of anxiety“ Thieme E-Journals – Neurology / Full Text (thieme-connect.com).

EMDR therapy can be used for children and adolescents with emotional and psychological problems such as PTSD, anxiety, phobias, depression, attachment disorders, etc.

EMDR information brochures for free download

And the following video animation

„Trauma and EMDR: Sometimes bad things happen…“

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