The strategic developmental model for EMDR



The strategic developmental model (SDM) for EMDR originated in Canada in 1996. It is a model that was born out of desperation in the face of the overwhelming treatment needs of severe- and multiple trauma victims, forensic clients, and short-term funded high-risk individuals. It is an efficient and comprehensive method for maximally delivering the benefits of EMDR to high-needs clients before their therapy might be prematurely interrupted by the realities of funding or of a multiproblem life. Such a method, I felt, would need to effectively facilitate rapid engagement and address or circumvent the fear, hostility, anxiety, and resistance that so often undermine or sabotage therapy with high-need and high-risk populations. Clinical experience also suggested the importance of having some systematic manner of assessing and treating the often multiple fundamental underlying causes of pathology and symptomatology in order to assist these high-risk and high-need clients to break the cycles and patterns that likely would repeat in their lives. I hypothesized that any process or strategies that might facilitate healing in these ways could also be anticipated to optimize therapeutic outcome for high-functioning clients and diverse client populations.


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Maureen Kitchur

Original Work Citation



“The strategic developmental model for EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 17, 2021,

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