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Developed in the 1980s, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy used to treat a variety of trauma-related psychological difficulties. As well as issues arising from traumatic events like accidents, violence or natural disasters, the therapy is used to treat lower-grade, more prolonged distress resulting from loss or shock in adult life or difficult childhood experiences. EMDR is increasingly used as a treatment for other psychological issues like performance anxiety or depression.
During treatment, the therapist will move their fingers from side to side. The client will recall the traumatic memory in question while simultaneously focusing on following the therapist’s fingers with their eyes. Depending on the client’s needs, the therapist may also use auditory tones or hand tapping.