SIMON HARPER MSc CBP (Distinction) PG Dip BA (Hons) BABCP Accredited



"The past is present.......the person is still acting emotionally and behaviourally in ways consistent with the earlier disturbing incident" Francine Shapiro

Eye Movement Densitisation and Reprocessing Therapy was created in 1989 by Francine Shapiro. The theory that underpins EMDR is called the Adaptive Information Processing Theory. She theorised that people are hard wired to take in new information and move to an adaptive resolution in the face of experiences that cause traumatic reactions. Sometimes the trauma or upsetting event is so overwhelming and traumatic that it is not possible for the experience to be processed in a normal way.

The event is stored or locked in the nervous system with the sensations or perceptions that were experienced at the time of the event. Thus the event remains unprocessed and continues to affect the person's functioning. This results in the development of limiting beliefs about themselves and the world. These can become fixed in the body and mind.

Shapiro devised a protocol whereby the memory networks storing the traumatic event are accessed and reprocessed. The person thinks of the upsetting event and at the same time some form of bilateral stimulation is used. This can be simply following my fingers from side to side or wearing a pair of headphones in which sound passes from ear to ear. As the process continues, new images, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations arise.

At various times you may experience new insight, or new associations and processing continues until no new material emerges. Currently there are a number of theories suggesting how EMDR works but it seems that the alternating left-right stimulation of the brain stimulates the frozen or locked memories. Distressing memories seem to lose their intensity and in the process revert to 'ordinary' memories.

EMDR has more published case reports and research to support it than any other method used in the treatment of trauma. Click on the link for the research: Lastly, EMDR can also be used for performance enhancement i.e. athletes, artists and actors can all benefit, especially when past traumas remain unaddressed.


"When I first came to you I was suffering severe depression for the second time in 2 years. In 12 weeks you have changed around my life around completely and I now feel so much better in myself and have a much more positive outlook on life. I didn't think I would ever feel this good again. The treatment was very difficult to deal with at times but it was well worthwhile as I now feel a heavy burden has been removed. Once again many thanks for helping me find the real person that I am." - Brian