Transference and countertransference in EMDR therapy


Just like any other psychotherapy method, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) should conceptualize the intersubjective phenomena that are active during EMDR therapy, especially in the treatment of complex cases. This article describes the concepts of transference and countertransference and how to integrate them in the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model. In this article, research on mirror neurons, the concept of action systems, and recent considerations on attachment theory for patients with disorganized attachment are incorporated into the concepts of transference and countertransference. Input from each of these theories is illustrated with a clinical vignette that depicts how the client’s and the therapist’s conscious and unconscious processes are intertwined and how they may affect the efficacy of EMDR therapy. We propose the countertransference-based interweave to release the AIP when countertransference issues block the process. Integrating knowledge on transference and countertransference in EMDR therapy could increase the efficacy of EMDR, especially in complex cases.






Olivier Piedfort-Marin

Original Work Citation

Piedfort-Marin, O. (2018). Transference and countertransference in EMDR therapy. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 12(3), 158-172. doi:10.1891/1933-3196.12.3.158



“Transference and countertransference in EMDR therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 29, 2021,

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