Memory and the brain: Some thoughts about the neurobiology of regeneration


This article is a Modification of a talk at the Swedenborg Scientific Association Annual Meeting in Bryn Athyn on 5 May 2001.

In June 1998 I learned of a technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), for treating painful memories. It basically seems to involve stimulating the patient’s brain bilaterally, while the patient holds the memory or memories in their mind. Originally, Francine Shapiro,1 the discoverer and developer of the technique, used saccadic (sideways movement, to and fro) of the eyes. Subsequently it has been found that bilateral alternating ear sound, or tapping the hands alternately, or even the feet in desperate situations, helps to transform the nature of the memory in various positive ways. Occasionally nothing happens, but usually the memory fades, becomes laughable, of no importance, and with or without a host of other reactions. There are temporary unpleasant reactions on the way to resolution, but if dealt with skillfully, the result is usually positive. Francine Shapiro stresses the importance of getting proper training before practicing EMDR, as these reactions can be quite frightening to someone not used to dealing with them. But the good results are often astonishing. A fresh way of looking at the problem, impossible before, becomes attainable. Though memories be as scarlet they become whiter than snow to use the familiar words from Isaiah.






David Lister

Original Work Citation

Lister, D. (2001, July-December). Memory and the brain: Some thoughts about the neurobiology of regeneration. The New Philosophy, 131-151



“Memory and the brain: Some thoughts about the neurobiology of regeneration,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 25, 2020,

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