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EMDR on popular TV shows!

Several clients (and a family member) have told me over the past few months that they have seen EMDR depicted on popular TV shows. Sometimes this was accurate, and sometimes it was incredibly inaccurate! It's great, however, that EMDR is becoming well-known, and that people are curious about this "mysterious new way" of dealing with trauma/PTSD (EMDR has been around since 1989...). Here's what I've been told:

On an episode of "Criminal Minds," EMDR is depicted as being used with a crime victim to help them recall a critical memory to identify the bad guy. Of course, this isn't EMDR at all--EMDR is a trauma treatment that most often causes a loss of details regarding traumatic memories, as they are permanently put in the past. In fact, EMDR therapists are taught to inform clients who will be involved in a criminal investigation that, due to their healing, they may lose details that might be important to the investigation. Even the face of an attacker! Anyway, one interesting thing in the show is that an electric "lightbar" is used to facilitate back-and-forth eye movements. This means that the writer of the show had a deeper familiarity with EMDR, and likely knew the depiction had nothing to do with reality.

On an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" (within the past few weeks, I was told), EMDR was shown in a therapy session in an entirely accurate manner. This made me happy.

EMDR did not appear, but was mentioned on the popular British sitcom "Doc Martin," a show about a quirky, highly trained city doctor who for his mental health has to become a country doctor. The main character's mental state has much to do with his perfectionistic father, if I am not mistaken, and his girlfriend in the show, a teacher, suggests to him that EMDR might help him "move past his past." Doc Martin replies, "That's pseudo-science!" mimicking what the medical and mental health communities used to think about EMDR. Thankfully, EMDR is now well-respected, as research has completely proven that EMDR is as effective or more effective than the best "other" trauma therapies currently in use.

Hopefully, EMDR will continue to be accurately depicted as it was in Grey's Anatomy. It is good to know that even the inaccurate depiction in Criminal Minds had a positive view of EMDR. In any case, it's good that more people are becoming aware that there's a better way to "get past your past," with EMDR.


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