EMDR is a powerful psychological treatment method that was developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s.

While walking in the park, she realized that eye movements appeared to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories. When she experimented with this, she found that others also had the same response to eye movements. Eye movements by themselves did not create comprehensive therapeutic effects, so Shapiro added other treatment elements, including a cognitive component, and developed a standard procedure that she called Eye Movement Desensitization (EMD).

Since then a wealth of research has been conducted demonstrating its benefits in treating psychological trauma arising from experiences as diverse as war related experiences, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, surgical trauma, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents. EMDR has been found to be of benefit to children as well as adults.

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