Sheffield EMDR and depression investigation (SEDI)


Long term depression is frequently seen by mental health nurses but it is difficult to treat and personally and economically devastating. Response rates to antidepressant medication and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are only about 50%. EMDR has shown itself to be a potentially valuable additional treatment option for depression. The theory behind EMDR is based on the idea that dysfunctionally stored traumatic memories continue to affect our thoughts, moods and schema. This theory was developed alongside EMDR as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but people with long term depression are also afflicted by intrusive memories and problems with overgeneral autobiographies. Generally our long term memories are stable but when we reactivate a memory by bringing it to mind then it becomes malleable and can be changed. This paper proposes that EMDR utilises this aspect of memory to reactivate it, then using the bilateral stimulation disrupts the working memory, challenging its capacity and so the emotional impact of the memory lessens. The memory can then be reconsolidated in a less emotional more adaptive way, meaning it is less damaging to the patient. This theory can be tested by measuring the emotional impact of the memory, the physiological response it generates and by analysing its content before and after therapy and at follow up to see if any changes remain stable (as they should if reconsolidation has occurred). These measures can then be correlated with symptoms measures to see if changes in memories do produce clinical improvements.






Emily F. Wood

Original Work Citation

Wood, E. F. (2012, September). Sheffield EMDR and depression investigation (SEDI). Poster presented at the 18th International Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research Conference, Oxford, UK



“Sheffield EMDR and depression investigation (SEDI),” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 29, 2020,

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