Francine Shapiro is a psychologist and author. She is a fellow at the mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California and is best known for the development of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a method of psychotherapy that alleviates symptoms in people who have experienced a traumatic event. She is the founder of the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program, a program that offers aid for disaster relief and provides EMDR training at no charge to professionals throughout the world. She is also the Executive Director of the EMDR Institute in Watsonville, California, and has been recognized by the professional community for her many contributions to her field. She is the recipient of several awards, including the distinguished International Sigmund Freud Award, the California Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Achievement in Psychology Award and the American Psychological Association Division 56 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice in Trauma Psychology.
Shapiro’s EMDR has impacted thousands of trauma survivors. She has been integral in advising outreach groups throughout the world on how to address trauma in those who are experiencing it. She joined the American Psychological Association & Canadian Psychological Joint Initiative on Ethno-political Warfare and has authored numerous articles and books on EMDR. Shapiro continues to work in Northern California as a licensed clinical psychologist and advocate for EMDR.
Contribution to Psychology
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that helps resolve symptoms related to trauma. Francine Shapiro developed EMDR with the belief that those who have experienced traumatic events hold memories of the events in a dysfunctional manner within their memory network and are not able to create adequate coping mechanisms due to cognitive overwhelm. Through EMDR, a client can effectively and safely address and process the memories, thus lessening their ability to influence emotional states in a negative way and allowing a client to properly manage the memories and behaviors that result from them.
EMDR involves exposing a client to bilateral stimulation, which includes eye movements combined with either tapping or sounds. EMDR relies on a process of shifting attention between dual stimuli and personal association of a memory. By creating a new stimulus to associate with the memory, the traumatic memory is transformed and results in positive sensory, cognitive, and emotional responses. Some types of trauma can be resolved in as little as three sessions. Although EMDR is primarily used for trauma, it has also been effective in helping people with depression, anxiety, and personal development.
Books by Francine Shapiro