Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a comprehensive psychotherapeutic approach that emphasizes the role of the information processing system in the origin and treatment of mental health problems (Shapiro, 1995/2001, 2007, 2014b). It is the only noncognitive–behavioral psychotherapy deemed empirically validated as a trauma treatment in well-established practice guidelines, domestically (e.g., U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs & U.S. Department of Defense, 2010) and internationally (e.g., World Health Organization [WHO], 2013). EMDR therapy is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which posits that inadequately processed memories of trauma and other adverse life experiences are the primary basis of psychopathology. These dysfunctional memories contain the emotions, physical sensations, and perceptions experienced during the disturbing event and provide the foundation for a wide range of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and relational problems. The therapy consists of eight phases and a methodology aimed at identifying and addressing (a) clients’ memories of the adverse experiences underlying their presenting symptoms, (b) the current circumstances that cause psychological disturbance, and (c) clients’ skills needed to guide their behavior in the future. As illustrated in this chapter, the EMDR therapy procedures are observed to stimulate internal associations that result in accelerated learning and the spontaneous emergence of adaptive affects and self-appraisals. Efficient treatment is provided without the use of detailed descriptions, extended exposures to traumatic memories, or homework.


Book Section




Francine Shapiro
Roger Solomon

Original Work Citation

Shapiro, F., & Solomon, R. (2017). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. In S. N. Gold, J. M. Cook, & C. J. Dalenberg (Eds.), Handbook of trauma psychology: Vol. 2. Trauma practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association



“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 1, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/25706.

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