EMDR - An integrative psychotherapy approach for working with trauma based disorders


EMDR is a trauma-focused method for treating PTSD and painful memories. The method integrates elements from several psychotherapeutic schools such as cognitive, behavioural, and psychodynamic orientations. Although there are elements of free associations during processing, the treatment follows a structured protocol with components of dosed exposure. The method has been noticed for its elements of bilateral stimulation; however it has been considered that several parts of the method contribute to its effectiveness. For a single traumatic experience, usually only a few sessions seem to be required even if in complex cases the length of treatment can become quite extended. In its original form EMDR was developed for adults, but the method can easily be adapted also for children. The first study was published in 1989 by Francine Shapiro, the inventor of EMDR, demonstrating that clients after three sessions of EMDR did not longer meet criteria for PTSD. Her publication was met by both interest and scepticism. Today EMDR is widely accepted and practiced by psychotherapists in many countries throughout the world. Guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies recommend EMDR for the treatment of PTSD and British researchers have found that EMDR is equally effective as trauma-focussed CBT for chronic PTSD. This workshop will give an introduction to EMDR: explaining the theoretical model underlying the method, presenting the structure of a session, and discussing suggested mechanisms of action. In addition some case examples will be highlighted.






Kerstin Bergh Johannesson

Original Work Citation

Johannesson, K. B. (2011, June). EMDR - An integrative psychotherapy approach for working with trauma based disorders. Pre-conference presentation at the 12th European Conference on Traumatic Stress (ECOTS), Vienna, Austria



“EMDR - An integrative psychotherapy approach for working with trauma based disorders,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 22, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/20926.

Output Formats