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Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an eight-phase therapeutic approach that facilitates the resolution of distressing experiences (often traumatic memories). It integrates psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, experiential, and somatic components (Shapiro, 2017). EMDR was originally developed as a treatment for processing traumatic memories in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and there is increasing evidence that it can be an effective intervention in other conditions where intrusive memories or dysfunctionally stored information are believe to be causal factors in pathology. Read more
Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing (EMDR)
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EMDR Negative And Positive Cognitions

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. ...

EMDR Protocol (Standard)

The standard protocol in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) outlines information required to start processing and identifies a seque ...

EMDR Protocol (With Interweave Guidance)

Cognitive interweaves are commonly used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to 'unblock' processing which has become 'stuck'. This ...

Grounding Techniques

Individuals who have experienced trama often find it difficult to stay within the 'window of tolerance'. Grounding techniques (which can be sensory/pe ...

Grounding Techniques Menu

Dissociation can be described as a shift of a person’s attention away from the present moment. When working with traumatized clients, this shift oft ...

How Trauma Can Affect You (CYP)

Trauma can result in a wide variety of symptoms, experiences, and behaviors. As well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), prevalence rates of oth ...

Intrusive Memory Record

Intrusive (unwanted, involuntary) memories are a common feature of PTSD, but also depression and other conditions. This Intrusive Memory Record is des ...

Properties Of Trauma Memories

Important properties of trauma memories include involuntary recall, 'nowness', vividness, and immutability. People who have experienced trauma report ...

Trauma And Dissociation

Trauma and Dissociation is a guide written for clients who have experienced trauma and who are troubled by dissociation. It provides clear informatio ...

Types Of Dissociation

The Types Of Dissociation information handout is designed for clients who have experienced trauma and describes dissociation using accessible terminol ...

What Is EMDR? (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based treatment for trauma. Its theoretical basis is described by the adaptive inf ...

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Information (Professional)




  • APA Psychotherapy Case Video of EMDR by Francine Shapiro
  • EMDR webinar by Francine Shapiro
  • Interview of Francine Shapiro by Joany Spierings
  • Working memory theory of EMDR | Centrum voor Psychotherapie en Psychotrauma

Recommended Reading

  • Korn, D. L. (2009). EMDR and the treatment of complex PTSD: a review. Journal of EMDR Practice & Research, 3(4), 264-278
  • Forgash, C., & Knipe, J. (2012). Integrating EMDR and ego state treatment for clients with trauma disorders. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 6(3), 120-128.
  • Knox, K. (2002). Case application of EMDR in trauma work. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 2(1), 49-53
  • Logie, R. D. J., & De Jongh, A. (2014). The “Flashforward procedure”: confronting the catastrophe. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 8(1), 25-32
  • Shapiro, F., Maxfield, L. (2002). In the blink of an eye. The Psychologist, 15(3), 120-124
  • Solomon, R. M., Shapiro, F. (2008). EMDR and the Adaptive Information Processing Model. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(4), 315

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing?

Assumptions of EMDR

The adaptive (or accelerated) information processing (AIP) model was developed to explain the results that EMDR achieves. EMDR and the AIP model assume that:

  • human beings are physiological processors of information;
  • information is stored in neurobiological memory networks (associative networks) containing memories, thoughts, images, emotions, and sensations;
  • under normal circumstances people are capable of responding to and resolving disturbances (analogous to how the body recovers from physical injury);
  • information is normally processed to an adaptive state whereby appropriate connections are made;
  • pathology arises when information associated with traumatic events in not adequately processed (memories are stored in a dysfunctional format);
  • most psychopathologies are based on early life experiences that result in a continued pattern of affect, behavior, cognitions, and subsequent identity structures;
  • EMDR therapy helps to stimulate information processing by forging new connections between dysfunctionally held information and more adaptive information;
  • eye movements or other bilateral stimulation help to stimulate adaptive information processing (EMDR appears to produce shifts in memories and the way that they are stored).


  • Shapiro, F. (2017). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy: Basic principles, protocols, and procedures(3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.