EMDR Psychotherapy is a very interesting and complex approach that incorporates the wisdom of many other types of therapies. Most people recognize this type of therapy as eye movement (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing - EMDR). In contrast to this simplistic view, the EMDR approach is a comprehensive intervention plan which promotes the prevention and rehabilitation of many psychological issues.

EMDR Psychotherapy consists of eight basic stages which are all equally important in resolving the issues that lead an individual to psychotherapy. Research has proven that this approach is the most effective in resolving issues regarding severe stress or trauma. EMDR Psychotherapy is applicable to both adults and children.

When a traumatic event occurs, the mind will contain memories in the form of thoughts, images, feelings, sounds and other sensory information or a combination thereof that are related to the initial event. Many times, the initial event has been “forgotten” by the client. The traumatic or difficult experience becomes trapped in the mind and is often triggered by every day activities. This creates difficulties and the negative experiences that are recorded in the memory create feelings of powerlessness to deal with what is happening today, both mentally and physically. Negative memories unwittingly affect both the present and the future.

Twenty years ago, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro discovered through observation that systematic and focused eye movement decreases negative thoughts and emotions. She experimented for a period with friends and the same result occurred; in other words, there was a marked decrease in sadness and discomfort. Shapiro created the research protocols that incorporate eye movement in the way she herself practiced in her psychotherapy sessions and noticed that the clients undergoing this treatment had much better results.

Following extensive research, Shapiro would name this “Reprocessing Therapy”, though it would be widely known as EMDR. We now know that eye movement not only contributes to the bilateral stimulation and arousal of the right and left lobe of the brain, but also helps to process the information that creates obstacles in overcoming psychological difficulties.  Apart from eye movement in and of itself, there are other methods that are either simultaneously or alternatively utilized: light tapping, alternating sound signals, or a combination of these during the therapeutic process.

There is a substantial amount of research articles in current scientific publications that support the usefulness of the EMDR approach in tackling intense stress. People who have experienced severe traumas such as injury, loss of a loved one, car accidents, natural disasters, and so on, can confront their psychological implications within 3-5 EMDR sessions. EMDR Psychotherapy is a psychotherapeutic approach which can relieve anxiety and post-traumatic stress both immediately after the event as well as years later. Of course, the number of sessions may increase depending on how complex the client’s trauma is.

EMDR Psychotherapy is also used for pain management, drug addiction, and for help with problems that stem from neglect, abuse, stress, and depression. Additionally, it is widely used as a natural enhancement which aims to improve athletic and learning performance.

Many acclaimed researchers and clinicians utilize the EMDR approach, including: Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School, Chris Lee of Murdoch University, Andrew Leeds of the EMDR Institute, Onno van der Hard of Utrecht University, the President of EMDR Europe, Uri Oren, and the very founder of EMDR, Francine Shapiro of the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California.

Today, EMDR is represented in Greece by the Scientific and Non-Profit Organization EMDR Hellas and a team of accredited therapists. EMDR Hellas is as member of EMDR Europe. For information, please call 6972 07 93 09