Francine Shapiro Obituary

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PENNY WARREN | 15 JULY 2019 | THE GUARDIAN – 

The American psychologist Francine Shapiro, who has died aged 71, devised the form of therapy known as eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR). Having started out as an English teacher, she summed up her life’s work with William Blake’s line: “For the eye altering alters all.”

EMDR, which involves making rapid eye movements to stimulate the brain, assists people in processing traumatic memories. It has helped millions worldwide, including many with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Shapiro overcame opposition to make it a mainstream therapy, after its efficacy had been demonstrated in more than 40 randomised controlled trials. It is now practised in around 30 countries and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), the NHS and many other bodies.