Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Francine Shapiro on Wise Counsel

On the Wise Counsel podcast, Francine Shapiro tells how one day she was walking along the waterfront and pondering a problem that was bothering her and noticed that when she made a certain movement with her eyes, the impact of the problem was decreased. This is how she came up with the idea to investigate the effect of eye movement on the brain and eventually developed the EMDR therapy. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a method that allows - so it claims - the brain to decrease the disturbance of tough memories and reprocess them. It is suggested as a therapy for trauma victims and a wide variety of other problems.

An EMDR session, after having established what the pivotal, problematic memory is, involves nothing more than the client concentrating on the memory and the therapist to induce the required eye movement. Shapiro explains that in effect, this therapy actively induces what otherwise would happen during REM sleep. Apparently, the bad memories were not properly processed, arguably because they were to confronting and were avoided during REM, or in any case not properly handled.

Wise Counsel's host Dr. Dave does a great job at interviewing her and also let her react to the controversies around the therapy. Frankly, it seems too good to be true and Dr. Dave is also frank about his skepticism. In the end, he allows himself to be convinced, looking at the amount of research that backs EMDR up. I myself am not qualified to say that. I warmly recommend everybody to listen to the podcast.

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