Cognitive-behavioral therapy


EMDR was initially developed by Francine Shapiro (1989a, 1989b) to reduce the distress of traumatic memories. After initial reports of high success rates in treating PTSD within a short period of time, EMDR quickly became the focus of much debate and research (Devilly & Spence, 1999). The process involves a three-pronged approach that addresses the etiology of a traumatic event (the past), the triggers of the PTSD symptoms (the present), and the development of templates to cope with upsetting events (the future) (Shapiro, 2007). With EMDR, the therapist uses directive questioning to desensitize the client through a brief imagined exposure to the traumatic memory (Shapiro, 2001). The client is asked to provide a negative or dysfunctional cognition of the trauma and identify places in the body where the physical sensations are felt. After focusing on the traumatic memory and negative cognition, emotion, and physical sensations, the client receives bilateral stimulation. The alternating stimulation is a unique though controversial aspect of EMDR. Most commonly, it involves therapist-directed saccadic eye movements, with the therapist moving his or her fingers back and forth in front of the client’s face after instructing the client to follow the movement with his or her eyes (Shapiro, 2001). Other dual-attention tasks, such as finger tapping on alternating sides and presenting sounds or light on alternating sides, have also been used (Davidson & Parker, 2001). This sequence is repeated until the accompanying level of disturbance has subsided and the dysfunctional cognitions about the trauma have been ameliorated (Shapiro, 2007). [Excerpt]


Book Section




Antonio Gonzalez-Prendes
Stella M. Resko

Original Work Citation

Gonzlez-Prendes, A. A., & Resko, S. M. (2011). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. In S. Ringel & J. Brandell (Eds.), Trauma: Contemporary Directions in Theory, Practice, and Research (pp. 14-40). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications



“Cognitive-behavioral therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 21, 2020,

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