The Potential for Computerized Eye Tracking Technology to Improve Bilateral Stimulation Methodology and Assessment Commentary

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Jennifer Lape Kaiser
Maura Bennett


Neurological mechanisms, standardization, EMDR


Bilateral stimulation is also called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is a psychotherapeutic technique for treating PTSD and other mental health issues. Trauma affects brain activity, and EMDR may help rewire that activity through use of bilateral stimulation (BLS) during memory processing. BLS typically involves eye movements; tracking a stimulus back and forth. However, the effectiveness of EMDR is debated due to limited research on its neurological mechanisms and methodological inconsistencies in the literature. Inconsistencies include lack of concrete methodology and inconclusive meta-analyses. The traditional EMDR eight-phase protocol involves history, assessment, desensitization, and more. A major appeal of EMDR for clients includes the low requirement for verbalizing traumatic memories in session, but effectiveness assessment relies on self-report. Eye tracking technology could address the standardization issues with EMDR while also enhancing protocols and research. Standardized EMDR, online or in-person, could improve outcomes and expand its applications.

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