EMDR therapy: An overview of its development and mechanisms of action


Introduction: This article examines the history and development of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), from Dr. Francine Shapiro's original discovery in 1987, to current findings and future directions for research and clinical practice. Elements of the literature: An overview is provided of significant milestones in the evolution of EMDR over the first 20 years, including key events, research and scientific publications, and humanitarian efforts. The authors also describe the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which is the theoretical basis of the therapy; they address the question of mechanisms of action, and EMDR's specific contribution to the field of psychotherapy. Discussion: EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy, which sees dysfunctionally stored memories as the core element of the development of psychopathology. In its view of memory, it integrates information that is sensory, cognitive, emotional and somatic in nature. The EMDR protocol looks at past events that formed the presented problem, at the present situations where the problem is experienced, and at the way, the client would like to deal with future challenges. Conclusion: EMDR is a 25-year-old therapy that has accumulated a substantial body of research proving its efficiency, and is now part of many professional treatment guidelines. The research is pointing to its potentially large positive impact in the fields of mental and physical health.






Udi Oren
Roger Solomon

Original Work Citation

Oren, U., & Solomon, R. (2012). EMDR therapy: An overview of its development and mechanisms of action. Revue Europenne De Psychologie Applique/European Review of Applied Psychology, 62(4), 197-203. doi:10.1016/j.erap.2012.08.005



“EMDR therapy: An overview of its development and mechanisms of action,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 24, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/21745.

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