EMDR and cognitive-behavior therapy: Exploring convergence and divergence



Since first introduced by Shapiro, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has been the subject of considerable interest, debate, and controversy within the behavioral literature. In this chapter, EMDR is examined from a behavioral perspective with the goal of exploring connections between it and behavior therapy. Since its initial introduction as an intervention for PTSD, EMDR has been expanded and is used to treat a range of other disorders. The present discussion centers on its application in the management of PTSD for two reasons: First, PTSD is the diagnostic category on which the majority of research studies have focused. Second, empirical research has determined that EMDR and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are efficacious in the treatment of PTSD; they seem to be equally effective, although EMDR may be more efficient.The chapter begins with a brief consideration of the development and essential principles of behavior therapy and of the manner in which behavioral approaches have conceptualized PTSD. This context is essential to understanding how EMDR is conceptualized from a behavioral perspective. The relationship between EMDR and behavior therapy is then explored and mechanisms for its apparent effectiveness considered. Finally, contributions of behavior therapy to EMDR and of EMDR to behavior therapy are discussed, including challenges that each poses to the other.


Book Section




Nancy J. Smyth
A. Desmond Poole



“EMDR and cognitive-behavior therapy: Exploring convergence and divergence,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 21, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17421.

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