Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and slow wave sleep: A putative mechanism of action
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is considered highly efﬁcacious for the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and has proved to be a valid treatment approach with a wide range of applications. However, EMDR’s mechanisms of action is not yet fully understood. This is an active area of clinical and neurophysiological research, and several different hypotheses have been proposed. This paper discusses a conjecture which focuses on the similarity between the delta waves recorded by electroencephalography during Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) and those registered upon typical EMDR bilateral stimulation (eye movements or alternate tapping) during recurrent distressing memories of an emotionally traumatic event. SWS appears to have a key role in memory consolidation and in the reorganization of distant functional networks, as well as Eye Movements seem to reduce traumatic episodic memory and favor the reconsolidation of new associated information. The SWS hypothesis may put forward an explanation of how EMDR works, and is discussed also in light of other theories and neurobiological ﬁndings.
Original Work Citation
Pagani, M., Amann, B. L., Landin-Romero, R., & Carletto, S. (2017, November). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and slow wave sleep: A putative mechanism of action. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1935. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01935
“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and slow wave sleep: A putative mechanism of action,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed August 1, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24692.