Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing:  An update


Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively recent therapeutic approach to the treatment of traumatic memories in the wake of psychological trauma such as those found in PTSD. It is based on the theory that bilateral stimulation, mostly in the form of eye movements, allows the processing of traumatic memories. While the patient focuses on specific images, negative sensations, and associated cognitions, bilateral stimulation is applied to desensitise the individual to these memories, and more positive sensations and cognitions are introduced. Although there is still uncertainty about the theoretical concepts underlying EMDR and the role of bilateral stimulation, it is an effective and proven treatment for PTSD and traumatic memories. It should form part of treatment approaches offered to individuals with PTSD.






Rikus H. Coetzee
Stephen Regel

Original Work Citation

Coetzee, R. H., & Regel, S. (2005, September). Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing: An update. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 347-354. doi:10.1192/apt.11.5.347



“Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing:  An update,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 20, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/16390.

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