EMDR and neuroscience research:  Some questions and implications for psychotherapy integration


Since its introduction, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) (Shapiro, 1989) has received the attention of many mental health professionals. There has been much critical debate on the subject of EMDR. Most of the clinical discussion has centered on the role of EMDR in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While the EMDR procedure has been compared to Mesmerism (McNally, 1999), declared as pseudoscience (Herbert, Lilienfeld, Lohr, Montgomery, ODonohue, Rosen, and Tolin, 2000), or regarded as a highly marketed placebo (Lilienfield, 1996), most studies support the efficacy of EMDR in treating PTSD (Ironson, Freund, Strauss, and Williams, 2002; Lee, Gavriel, Drummond, Richards, and Greenwald, 2002; Marcus, Marquis, and Sakai, 1997; Rothbaum, 1997; Van Etten and Taylor, 1998; Wilson, Becker, and Tinker, 1997). There has been some evidence for accompanying physiological changes in PTSD subjects treated with EMDR with patterns of cortex functioning, (Levin, Lazrove, and van der Kolk, 1999; Nicosia, 1994) event-related potential changes (Lamprecht, Kohnke, Sack, Matzke and Munte, 2004), as well as positive effects on the level of the stress hormone cortisol (Haber, Kellner and Yehuda, 2002).






Kenneth L. Welch

Original Work Citation

Welch, K. L. (2007, August). EMDR and neuroscience research: Some questions and implications for psychotherapy integration. EMDR Practitioner. Retrieved from http://www.emdr-practitioner.net



“EMDR and neuroscience research:  Some questions and implications for psychotherapy integration,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 29, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/15327.

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