blue ocean with sun going down, honoring Francine Shapiro and EMDR therapy down

Honoring Francine Shapiro and EMDR

4 Minutes Read

We recently lost one of our most critical psychiatric educators and innovators: Francine Shapiro. Shapiro, whom I view as a world hero, is the developer of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). I base much of my practice on this form of psychotherapy. It has proven to be the most effective form of treatment for my patients no matter what issue they are working through - especially trauma. Because of her contribution, I wish to take a moment and recognize the work that Shapiro did for the therapy community, and for trauma victims the world over.

Francine Shapiro: Your Eye Movements Changed Our Lives

Francine Shapiro's work, developing, researching and dedicating her life to the EMDR method has done an immense amount of good for patients the world over. And her work stretches back to 1987.

During that year, Francine Shapiro noticed something significant. When she moved her eyes from side to side, any impact that negative thought or memory was having on her, was significantly reduced.

She proceeded to conduct more research and experimentation, realizing the importance of this observation to confirm her theory. Francine Shapiro published the first book on EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in 1995. Since then, both the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Defense have been using Shapiro’s method of trauma treatment.


EMDR therapy is largely used to treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other forms of trauma. When someone experiences psychological trauma, it wounds their mind. Just as a physical injury will would the body. Steps need to be taken to heal the wound to the mind, just as you would treat a wound to the body.

The treatment time can vary depending upon many factors, such as:

  • the age of the patient
  • how much trauma has been experienced
  • the overall wellness of the patient

However, many patients experience healing after a short treatment period.

For instance, those patients seeking treatment for a traumatic event that happened during adulthood can often see results within 5 hours of EMDR therapy

woman walking on a street, raising her arms in the sky, honoring Francine Shapiro and EMDR therapy

Walking down the road …

Imagine you were walking down the road one day, progressing in your travels with ease. Then all of a sudden, a boulder dropped in the path in front of you and blocked your way forward. You can no longer move forward until you move the rock from your path.

Treating trauma with EMDR is a lot like this situation. The road is representing your life and the boulder being the trauma experienced. EMDR is the solution to removing the trauma (boulder) that is blocking your path.

EMDR and Panic Attacks

While EMDR is often used to treat PTSD and trauma, it also is being increasingly used to help patients heal and recover from:

  • panic attacks
  • addiction
  • anxiety
  • eating disorders

EMDR has proven incredibly effective in treating these conditions. Traumatic experiences can cause symptoms to occur. Such as anxiety. The trauma then needs to be dealt with first, to alleviate the symptom. The treatment is so relevant to patient healing and recovery that over 20,000 trained therapists use it to help their patients. Millions of patients have been successfully treated using EMDR.

The Healing Success with EMDR

The percentage of patients that have been healed successfully with EMDR treatment is staggering.

Kaiser Permanente found in their studies that 100% of single-trauma patients recovered after six sessions. Similarly, 77% of multi-trauma patients healed within the same amount of sessions.

The EMDR institute’s studies show 84-90% of single-trauma and people living with PTSD recovered within three sessionsCombat veterans were found to recover from PTSD within 12 sessions, 77% of the time.

I see these remarkable rates of healing with my clients every day. And I firmly believe EMDR is the best course of treatment regardless of the struggle they bring to my office. I even use it while working with couples in marriage counseling.

If you experiencing trauma, PTSD, or any other disorders or symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact me for a discovery call or to book an EMDR counseling session.

There is hope, and you can recover.

Together, and with the help of effective treatments like EMDR, you can move forward from your painful past.

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