Is EMDR an exposure therapy?  A review of trauma protocols


This article presents the well established theoretical base and clinical practice of exposure therapy for trauma. Necessary requirements for positive treatment results and contraindicated procedures are reviewed. EMDR is contrasted with these requirements and procedures. By the definitions and clinical practice of exposure therapy, the classification of EMDR poses some problems. As seen from the exposure therapy paradigm, its lack of physiological habituation and use of spontaneous association should result in negligible or negative effects rather than the well researched positive outcomes. Possible reasons for the effectiveness of EMDR are discussed, ranging from the fundamental nature of trauma reactions to the nonexposure mechanisms utilized in information processing models.






Susan Rogers
Steven M. Silver

Original Work Citation

Rogers, S., & Silver, S. M. (2002, January). Is EMDR an exposure therapy? A review of trauma protocols. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(1), 43-59. doi:10.1002/jclp.1128



“Is EMDR an exposure therapy?  A review of trauma protocols,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 15, 2021,

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