Introduction to Eye Movement Therapies
As part of my regular Continuous Professional Development I attend weekend courses at the ICH in London. The latest course provided a fascinating introduction to the latest EMT techniques.
Developed by Francine Shapiro PhD at the Mental Research Institute in 1987, EMT has proved to be a highly effective way of engaging the brain’s innate memory processing system to deal with memories of traumatic events.
It uses bi-lateral stimulation of the brain – either through eye movements or left hand/right hand tapping.
The constant shifting of attention from left to right through movement of the eyes or tapping of the hands, together with the client’s simultaneous, controlled replaying of the memory and negative emotions it produces, provokes an increased flow of neuronal activity between right and left brain memory centres via the corpus callosum. This flow facilitates the dissociation of the link between the trauma and the emotions which it engenders. Thus, as the memory is processed, the negative emotions fall away, rendering the memory less and less painful.
While originally used for Trauma with a big “T” (PTSD, rape etc) where it was found to eliminate 77-90% of civilian single trauma PTSD within three 90 minute sessions). Variants of EMT are now used for dealing with a whole variety of issues including events from childhood which have resulted in feelings of self-blame or inadequacy, creation of fears and phobias, anger and relationship issues. I recently used one of these variants, called WHEE, to break a client’s fixation with chocolate (to facilitate weight loss) in just a single session.