The FBI’s Critical Incident Stress Management program


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a component of the FBI's integrated response to critical incidents. A therapeutic method that must be administered only by mental health professionals trained in the procedure, EMDR frequently accelerates the treatment of trauma. Reportedly, EMDR stimulates the brain's natural information-processing mechanisms, allowing the ÒfrozenÓ traumatic information to be processed normally and achieve integration. 8 Negative images often fade; negative emotions subside. Irrational thoughts give way to appropriate, adaptive thoughts and interpretations (e.g., I did the best I could...I survived and I am now safe...I can exercise control). With EMDR, an individual discards what is not useful (e.g., irrational thoughts, distressing emotions, intrusive images), retains what is useful, and learns from the event, as the following hypothetical example illustrates.






Richard J. McNally
Roger M. Solomon

Original Work Citation

McNally, R. J., & Solomon, R. M. (1999, February). The FBI's Critical Incident Stress Management program. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 68(2), 20-26



“The FBI’s Critical Incident Stress Management program,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 14, 2021,

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