Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing:  An emerging treatment for anxiety disorders


The eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) procedure developed by Shapiro (1889a,b; 1991) is an imaginal exposure and cognitive reprocessing technique for treating negative affect associated with traumatic memories. EMDR requires that the client engage in recall via imagination of the disturbing event and focus on associated affect, cognitions, and body sensations while performing rapid saccadic eye movements by following the repetitive motion of the therapist's hand. After the eye movement set, which usually lasts for about 20 seconds, the client briefly reports on any changes in the image, or co-occurring experiences. The client then engages in the next set of eye movement during which he or she is to focus on any newly, spontaneously generated material. This cycle of imaginal exposure in conjunction with eye movement followed by the client's feedback is continued until the client no longer generates relevant associations, feels comfortable, and reports no discomfort in response to the original memory. At this point a positive cognition is paired with the original scene by having the client imagine the original scene, rehearse the positive statement covertly, and simultaneously engage in eye movement.






Alan J. Goldstein
Ulrike Feske

Original Work Citation

Goldstein, A. J., & Feske, U. (1993, Fall). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: An emerging treatment for anxiety disorders. ADAA Reporter, 1(4), 1, 12



“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing:  An emerging treatment for anxiety disorders,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/16542.

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