EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was developed by Francine Shapiro in 198?. But draws from wisdom and healing practices that have been present in many cultures throughout time. Eye movement is one type of bi-lateral stimulation used in EMDR, I also use tapping with many of my clients.
EMDR is an amazing tool for processing trauma. During a regular talk session, we tend to expereince the most in the front part of our brains. This is where we make meaning, where we try to figure out what we have learned from an experience, where we plan and where we can access our explicit memories (think words and images). In an EMDR session, in addition to the front part of our brains, the mid brain and brain stem also get to tell their part of the story. These parts of the brain are tasked with the questions: "Am I loved?" and "Am I safe?" and they also store our implicit memories of trauma (think body memories, sensations, an inkling that something is off).
I often think of EMDR as a way for these different areas of the brain to hear each other's parts of the story so that they can heal. EMDR is grounded in the theory that our brains and nervous systems are adaptive and wish to process and resolve trauma. In EMDR there is space to process all the thoughts, feelings and sensations associated with trauma and reframe the negative core beliefs that develop as a result of surviving trauma.