The use of ‘exposure’ in EMDR


An important feature of PTSD is that it is not very likely that the same traumatic event will happen again. For example, if a client has been raped and succesfully been treated with EMDR, generally not many clinicians will feel the urge to prepare the client for a next rape. Conversely, in a number of cases (for instance phobic conditions) the client does have to anticipate future situations in which the former phobic stimuli are present; and where he will have to interact with these. As a result of the application of the EMDR basic protocol, the likelihood or severity of the initial threat may have been reappraised, and the incident that initially felt traumatic may have been reattributed to an innocuous event. However, if a dental phobic has been successfully treated for his phobia, it is likely that he will still have to undergo invasive dental work, such as injections, root canal treatments or extractions. This has implications for treatment. Therefore, with specific phobias, after any successful reprocessing of anxiety related material occurs, it is of paramount importance that the client be properly prepared for future confrontations with the anxiety provoking objects and situations.






Ad de Jongh
Erik ten Broeke

Original Work Citation

de Jongh, A., & ten Broeke, E. (2000, September). The use of ?exposure? in EMDR. EMDRIA Newsletter, 5(4), 4-8




“The use of ‘exposure’ in EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2020,

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