Current research on eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy


EMDR therapy is widely recognized as an empirically supported trauma treatment and was given an “A” rating in the most recent practice guidelines of both the DVA/DOD and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Meta-analytic findings report similar effect sizes for trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) and EMDR therapy in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there are distinct differences between the two modalities in both theory and practice. Unlike TF-CBT exposure therapies, with EMDR therapy there is only intermittent attention to the index trauma, homework is not required and detailed descriptions of the memory are not needed. Further, the eye movement component has been the subject of more than 20 randomized controlled trials that have reported positive effects supporting both working memory and orienting response/REM hypotheses. These effects include a rapid decrease in physiological arousal and negative emotion, as well as increased episodic memory retrieval and recognition of true information. Videotaped clinical sessions will illustrate these findings, as well as the differences between EMDR therapy and prolonged exposure.






Francine Shapiro
E. C. Hurley
Carlijn de Roos
Ferdnand Horst
Ad de Jongh
Hellen Hornsveld

Original Work Citation

Shapiro, F., Hurley, E. C., de Roos, C., Horst, F., de Jongh, A., & Hornsveld, H. (2013, April). Current research on eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Presentation at the Anxiety Disorders and Depression Conference, La Jolla, CA



“Current research on eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 19, 2021,

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