EMDR and information processing in psychotherapy treatment:  Personal development and global implications


EMDR: A peculiar technique. It may give one an idea of hocus-pocus: the eliciting of the eye-movement. But it isnt! And how it originated also is a peculiar story, but this I suppose is well known. It was a nice case of serendipity. The adaptive information processing (AIP) model was developed to explain and predict EMDR treatment effects. We read: The AIP model states that all memory is associated, and learning occurs through the creation of new associations. When an incident is not fully processed, the perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that were experienced during the traumatic event are generally stored in state-dependent form. This storage may be in an isolated memory network where the information cannot link up with more appropriate information and learning cannot take place. And, to jump to a conclusion, what EMDR does is linking, forging new connections between the unprocessed memory and more adaptive information that is contained in other memory networks, while the simultaneous eye-movement decreases the intense and painful emotions that are recalled. Again: creating the narrative, cognitively and emotionally. EMDR, provided it is well indicated and correctly applied, seems to be a very useful technique, a real tool, without pretension. It provides what it offers if the results last (do they?). The case studies described in this chapter are convincing, one of them with a 5 year old child with a D attachment pattern (disorganized/disoriented attachment pattern, see also chapter 2). Both mother and child treated with EMDR. What happens in the brain when we move our eyes from left to right to left while recalling a traumatic incident is not explained. In chapters 6-8 we can read about the psychotherapy of traumatized people.


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Francine Shapiro
Louise Maxfield

Original Work Citation

Shapiro, F., & Maxfield, L. (2003). EMDR and information processing in psychotherapy treatment: Personal development and global implications. In M. F. Solomon & D. J. Siegel (Eds.), Healing trauma: Attachment, mind, body, and brain (pp. 196-220). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co



“EMDR and information processing in psychotherapy treatment:  Personal development and global implications,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 14, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/15778.

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