The neurobiology of eye movement desensitization reprocessing therapy


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an eight‐phase psychotherapeutic approach that emphasizes the physiological information processing system in the origin and treatment of mental health issues. Its theoretical basis is the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which holds that the primary source of psychopathology is the presence of memories of adverse life experiences that have been inadequately processed. EMDR is an eight‐phase approach that treats the condition by accessing and processing the memories related with the dysfunction, identifying and focalizing the current problems that triggered the problem and incorporating memory templates for appropriate future actions, including those aimed at evolutive deficits, useful skills and necessary behaviors for optimum functioning. One of the big differences between EMDR and CBT training is that CBT training is frequently taught in academic institutions. While EMDR initially often sounds bizarre to clients, its evidence base as a treatment for Post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is robust.


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Derek Farrell

Original Work Citation

Farrel, D. (2018, February). The neurobiology of eye movement desensitization reprocessing therapy. In Anthony R. Beech, Adam J. Carter, Ruth E. Mann, and Pia Rotshtein (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Forensic Neuroscience, 1 (pp.).  New York, NY:  John Wiley & Sons



“The neurobiology of eye movement desensitization reprocessing therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 19, 2018,

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