EMDR & the law


Shapiro (2001) notes that, “if a crime victim, witness or police officer is being treated for a critical incident, it is essential to establish whether a legal deposition or any specific kind of trial testimony is or may be required of the individual”. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing can affect the memory process. For this reason, it is important to discuss with the client, and with any lawyers or police officers involved, how testimony might be affected. The EMDR therapist must make clear to all concerned the potential effects of giving treatment and delaying treatment. The client, lawyers and other interested parties can then reach a decision on how to proceed. The therapist needs to understand the legal implications of their actions if they are asked to provide treatment under these circumstances. They also need knowledge of the procedures involved and of the way these differ between civil and criminal cases. These procedures will also differ between countries. The dilemma can be the conflict between the client’s best interests and the upholding of the law. Reference: Shapiro F (2001), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, 2nd Edition, Guilford Press NY, p98






Charles Burdett

Original Work Citation

Burdett, C. (2010, March). EMDR & the law. Presentation at the 8th EMDR Association UK & Ireland Annual Conference & AGM, Dublin, Ireland



“EMDR & the law,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 29, 2022, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19910.

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