Eye Movement De-sensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy designed to help people process trauma and other painful experiences. It was developed by Francine Shapiro in the 1980s.
It is generally accepted that when a person experiences such a traumatic event, it can often become ‘trapped’ in the body. It is thought this occurs because when a person experiences something traumatic, the right side of the brain, which is associated with fight/fight/freeze, emotions and survival, takes over in order to protect us. However, this is at the expense of the left side of the brain, associated with meaning making, understanding and reason. Thus, the experience cannot be assimilated and processed.
Although this is a great simplification of the brain, it is a useful guide for EMDR. The process described above is changed in EMDR through the use of bilateral stimulation which is a non-invasive way to stimulation the left/right sides of the brain whilst thinking about the trauma/painful experience.