Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro which uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to purportedly assist clients in processing distressing memories and beliefs. It is commonly used for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The theory behind the treatment assumes that when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal coping mechanisms, with the memory and associated stimuli being inadequately processed and stored in an isolated memory network.
The therapy includes having the patient recall images while receiving one of several types of such as side-to-side eye movements or hand tapping. EMDR is most commonly used to treat adults with PTSD, but it is also used to treat trauma and PTSD in children and adolescents. It is recommended in several treatment guidelines for PTSD.