Quieting the amygdala


Queting the amygdala: EMDR revisited. EMDR or, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is one of the new kids on the block of psychotherapy. It has made an impressive impact on the psychotherapy scene and media since its description by Francine Shapiro. The idea behind EMDR is that eye movements interfere with consolidation of information with a negative emotional impact via a neural circuit inhibiting activity of the amygdala. Its effect resembles that of beta-adrenergic blocking agents that inhibit noradrenergic hippocampal input from the amygdala.* But the question that remains unanswered sofar is how voluntary or induced eye movements can be causally linked to the amygdala-hippocampal circuit. Francine Shapiro speculated that its beneficial role might be related to the fact that voluntary saccades of the eyes mimic the saccades of REM during sleep, and thus its functional state. She felt that 'EMDR processing seems to link in to the same processes that occur during rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep processes the events of the day in order to make sense of them, and it moves them from episodic memory to semantic memory, where you can remember what happened, but you no longer have those emotions and physical sensations locked into memory'.






Albert Kok

Original Work Citation

Kok, A. (2017, August). Quieting the amygdala. University of Amsterdam. Unpublished



“Quieting the amygdala,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 26, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24671.

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