Eye Movement Integration Therapy (EMIT) History
Eye Movement Integration originated in the Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) field that formed in the late 1970s. More specifically, this technique was an outgrowth of the study of eye movement patterns by Robert Dilts and others (Dilts, Grinder, Bander and DeLozier, 1980). Dilts found that unconscious eye movements are systematic andMore specifically, this technique was an outgrowth of the study of eye movement patterns by Robert Dilts and others (Dilts, Grinder, Bander and DeLozier, 1980). Dilts found that unconscious eye movements are systematic and correlate with the internal processing of different types of cognitive information. Although these results, originally labeled “eye accessing cues,” remain controversial, they nevertheless represent one of the more unique and useful of the NLP findings.
When the Eye Movement Integration Therapy Specialists teach mental health professionals how to use EMIT, the inter-connectedness with NLP is always covered in course materials and discussions. If you would like to learn more about NLP, one good resource is the Encyclopedia of NLP by Dilts and Delozier (2000). You can order a print version, or view the encyclopedia online, at www.nlpuniversitypress.com.
Connirae and Steve Andreas were the first to offer instruction in a specific therapeutic technique based on “eye accessing cue” research. They called this technique Eye Movement Integration. Although it originated in 1989, a recorded demonstration of the technique was first distributed in 1993 when a video was produced of Steve Andreas using Eye Movement Integration with a Vietnam veteran who suffered from PTSD.
Developing on a separate track was another version by Danie Beaulieu and contained in her book Eye Movement Integration Therapy: The Comprehensive Clinical Guide (2003). This was the first complete text on the technique, its theory and its practice. She describes her approach as a combination of the original Andreas technique and another eye movement therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR was different from Eye Movement Integration. It was developed by Francine Shapiro (1989) and first reported at the same time that Eye Movement Integration was being introduced by Connirae and Steve Andreas. Beaulieu took a brief workshop led by Steve Andreas at the same conference in 1993 where he demonstrated Eye Movement Integration with the Vietnam veteran. Afterwards, she began to use Eye Movement Integration with clients, although she reports in her book that her initial results were varied. She found herself adding new dimensions to the technique and notes that about half of the changes she made to the Andreas’ protocols were based on her own “intuition and experience.”
About three years later she heard of EMDR and took both levels of its training between 1996 and 1997. Beaulieu, goes into some detail about the similarities and differences between Eye Movement Integration and EMDR. She describes in her book how she then adopted certain aspects of EMDR and made them part of her practice of Eye Movement Integration. Now that Eye Movement Integration and EMDR have been in use for over 20 years, it is apparent that the techniques have had an influence on each other, with elements of each found in the other’s practice.
This brief historical description may leave questions for those unfamiliar with EMIT. If so, we encourage you to learn more, especially if you are a mental health practitioner.
By far the best way to do this is to enrol in the professional EMIT practitioner development program offered by the Australian Eye Movement Integration Therapy (EMIT) Training Group. More information is available here.