Definition - EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-based psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, successful outcomes are well-documented in the literature for EMDR treatment of other psychiatric disorders, mental health problems, and somatic symptoms. The model on which EMDR is based, Adaptive Information Processing (AIP), posits that much of psychopathology is due to the maladaptive encoding of and/or incomplete processing of traumatic or disturbing adverse life experiences. This impairs the client’s ability to integrate these experiences in an adaptive manner. The eight-phase, three-pronged process of EMDR facilitates the resumption of normal information processing and integration. This treatment approach, which targets past experience, current triggers, and future potential challenges, results in the alleviation of presenting symptoms, a decrease or elimination of distress from the disturbing memory, improved view of the self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.
EMDR procedures facilitate the effective reprocessing of traumatic events or adverse life experiences and associated beliefs, to an adaptive resolution. Specific procedural steps are used to access and reprocess information which incorporates alternating bilateral visual, auditory, or tactile stimulation. These well-defined treatment procedures and protocols facilitate information reprocessing. EMDR utilizes an 8-phase, 3-pronged, approach to treatment that optimizes sufficient client stabilization before, during, and after the reprocessing of distressing and traumatic memories and associated stimuli. The intent of the EMDR approach to psychotherapy is to facilitate the client’s innate ability to heal. Therefore, during memory reprocessing, therapist intervention is kept to the minimum necessary for the continuity of information reprocessing.
For more information, please visit: www.emdria.org
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, 2nd edition, N.Y.: The Guilford Press.
Shapiro, F. (2001).