EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach originated by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.  to treat trauma in 1989.  EMDR therapy is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) Model which posits that inadequately processed memories, when triggered, result in psychological symptoms.  A predominantly individual treatment, this therapy is shorter in term than traditional talk therapy and does not require the “homework” associated with other CBT models. However, it can be used with couples, families and children.

EMDR therapy uses a standardized 8 phase protocol to target the maladaptively stored memory and reprocess it through bilateral stimulation.  The result is decreased distress around the memory and less psychological symptoms.

EMDR therapy is recommended as the treatment of choice by the World Health Organization (2013) for children, adolescents, and adults. The Israeli National Council for Mental Health (2002), Department of Defense (2010), and  National Institute of Clinical of Excellence placed EMDR as one of the empirically supported treatments for adult PTSD. Among treatments for PTSD, EMDR is conditionally recommended by the APA  to treat PTSD   and one of three treatment approaches recommended by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Treatment of PTSD.

Current and ongoing EMDR research can be found at the EMDR Research Foundation (here) and in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research (here).

More Information

EMDRIA (EMDR- International Association)— EMDRIA–About EMDR Therapy

American Psychological Association (APA) — Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy


Chen, et al (2014) Efficacy of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing for patients with posttraumatic-stress disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One (9)8

Moreno-Alcázar, A., Treen, D., Valiente-Gómez, A., Sio-Eroles, A., Pérez, V., Amann, B., & Radua, J. (2017). Efficacy of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in Children and Adolescent with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.