EMDR as a technique for use in psychotherapy was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. In her teaching of this material Dr. Shapiro describes how this method came into being. I recall her telling us that, in 1987, she had come from the doctor’s office where she had received some news that was disturbing at that time. As she was walking in the park, she realized that eye movements appeared to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories. She assumed that eye movements had a desensitizing effect: when she experimented with this further she found that others had the same response to eye movements. It became apparent however that eye movements by themselves did not create comprehensive therapeutic effects and so Shapiro added other treatment elements, including a cognitive component, and developed a standard procedure that she called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing(EMDR). I took both the introductory and advanced sessions to learn the technique and have incorporated it quite successfully into my practice.
For the full history of this approch see the excellent history in Dr. Shapiro’s EMDR Institute website
EMDR INSTITUTE Francine Shapiro. Ph.D