Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy combines trauma therapy with so-called bilateral stimulation – usually in the form of directed eye movements. During an EMDR therapy session, a client works with a mental health professional to address and go over traumatic events, utilizing these side-to-side movements to reduce the severity of the recall, and help associate calmer, more positive emotions with their traumatic memories.
EMDR may sound like something from a sci-fi novel, but it has been an established and evidence-based form of therapy for nearly four decades. Our understanding of how and why EMDR therapy works is outlined through the Adaptive Information Processing model developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 2007. EMDR is a conditionally recommended treatment for trauma-based conditions, including PTSD, and trauma-related substance use disorder.