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EMDR: The Breakthrough

EMDR: The Breakthrough ""Eye Movement"" Therapy For Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, And Trauma

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by Francine Shapiro, Margot Silk Forrest

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Hailed as the most important method to emerge in psychotherapy in decades, EMDR has successfully treated psychological problems and illnesses in more than one million sufferers worldwide, with a rapidity that defies belief. In a new introduction, Shapiro presents the new applications of this remarkable therapy and the latest scientific research that demonstrates


Hailed as the most important method to emerge in psychotherapy in decades, EMDR has successfully treated psychological problems and illnesses in more than one million sufferers worldwide, with a rapidity that defies belief. In a new introduction, Shapiro presents the new applications of this remarkable therapy and the latest scientific research that demonstrates its efficacy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is a new, nontraditional, very short-term therapy for treating trauma victims that utilizes rhythmical stimulation such as eye movements or hand taps. Shapiro, a clinical psychologist and fellow at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., who developed the approach, reports cases in which as few as three 90-minute EMDR sessions have relieved patients' disabling anxiety. Explaining how she developed the technique in 1987, Shapiro describes the treatment, theorizes about why it works and cites supporting research. She suggests that the rhythmical stimulation inherent in the process jump starts and accelerates the brain's information processing system to enable the victims to begin to process the traumatic experiences in which they have been stuck so that natural healing can begin. Writer Forrest presents gripping case studies from numerous EMDR-trained therapists to demonstrate the effectiveness of the techniqueamong others, a Vietnam veteran with post-traumatic stress, a child with night terrors, a rape victim and a mother still nearly paralyzed with grief a year after her son's death. Other studies report success helping drug addicts and the terminally ill. (Apr.)
Library Journal
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a controversial method of psychotherapy used for treating posttraumatic stress syndrome and anxiety disorders. These two books provide an overview of EMDR for the general reader. Supporters claim that EMDR releases traumatic memories locked in the brain, accelerates recovery, and reduces stress; opponents point out that a neurological basis for this theory has yet to be established. These two new books on EMRR chiefly contain case histories and descriptions of the therapy; both warn against unauthorized use by therapists not trained by the EMDR Institute. Parnell, a clinical psychologist and senior EMDR Institute facilitator, claims a transcendent focus for EMDR, leading to "objective forgiveness" of oneself and the perpetrator of the trauma. Shapiro, who developed EMDR in 1989, documents research supporting EMDR, citing both controlled and uncontrolled studies and listing 12 populations where EMDR has been effectively used as a form of treatment. Both books are recommended for popular psychology collections, though Shapiro's book is the preferred choice for readers who may wish to follow up on EMDR research.Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L. Cal.

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What People are Saying About This

David A. Console
"A well-written, fascinating book that is a delight to read. With the development of EMDR, Francine Shapiro has made a profound contribution to psychotherapy and to our knowledge of illness and healing."
DBessel A. van der Kolk
"The speed at which change occurs during EMDR contradicts the traditional notion of time as essential for psychological healing. Shapiro has... [made] EMDR applicable to a variety of clinical populations and accessible to clinicians from different orientations."
Herbert Fensterheim
"EMDR is the most revolutionary, important method to emerge in psychotherapy in decades."

Meet the Author

Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. , the originator and developer of EMDR, is a senior research fellow at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. She is the author of a textbook on EMDR and more than thirty journal articles. She lives in Sea Ranch, California.

Margot Silk Forrest is a writer and editor.

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EMDR: The Breakthrough Eye Movement Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be fairly concise and easy to read, speaking as a layperson. I read this book after having been treated using EMDR. This therapy strategy did wonders for me in the solving of numerous problems I had in relating unconscious past experiences with my present circumstances.

The author and creator of this interesting, efficient and high effective strategy never did (and has seemingly yet to) describe WHY the process works so well, but has produced theories based on the old 'left hemisphere, right hemisphere' tack, with statements to the effect that EMDR helps provide balance between the two (or rather between all the 'poles' or centers of the different ways we process our experiences). While this may be true, it is my belief that what this strategy actually accomplishes is that it provides an effective way to reevaluate your past experience while remaining firmly rooted in the present. Normally, we seem to evaluate all our current events in accordance to our previous decisions during past events. For instance, I was stung by a wasp at the age of 3, and still remember it vividly, and for the longest time had trouble getting vaccinations because I subconsciously associated the hypo with the 'needle' of the wasp stinger entering my arm and I severely feared getting 'stung' again. I have now consciously shown my subconscious how silly that fear is by re-evaluating my past experience in the light of the current day's logic and reality. No more fear (of course, shots are still unpleasant for me, just not phobically so).

For more info on the concept of focusing on the present moment of experience instead of letting the subconscious past rule you, read Jon Kabat-Zinn's book 'Full Catastrophe Living' or Thomas Crum's book 'Journey to Center'.

The difference, in my opinion, between EMDR and most 'living the moment' type methods , is that through EMDR, you are using foci that are not dependent on yourself (ie.,in EMDR, usually a therapist of some sort is providing direction and keeping you somewhat on track with your personal development). The other two books relate methods wherein you are solely responsible for your own path and progress, generally through meditation. If you have a wandering mind like mine, you can use all the outside focus stimuli you can get.

EMDR would seem to follow similar ideas to the techniques of Dianetics, also, though I don't believe Ron Hubbard ever had a clue why his techniques ever worked during those times when they actually did.

I was disappointed at all the references to the 'dangers' of practicing EMDR without being trained specifically by a licensed institute and, once I checked into the sources for instruction, I invariably found that having an advanced degree in a therapeutical discipline was required to seemingly even get questions answered about techniques and protocols. Plainly, they are very scared of lawsuits (and its no wonder, in this day and age of sueing your neighbor for anything you think you can get out of them). However, I have both undergone EMDR and have done extensive reading in pursuit of self-knowledge through other means and have gained much in the doing, without 'professional' training. I do not believe that 'untrained' EMDR can cause any more damage than hypnosis or martial-arts or any other form of self-exploration can, as long as you go about it in a methodical and intelligent manner.

I would say, however, that it is much more effective with an outside 'guide' than attempting to perform solo on oneself. Refer to Win Wenger's and Richard Poe's book 'The Einstein Factor' for more information on why outside feedback is important in self-exploration.

'Til next rant...