Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a scientifically validated, evidence-based and integrative psychotherapy approach based on the theory that much of psychopathology is due to traumatic experience or disturbing life events. These result in the impairment of the client’s innate ability to process and integrate the experience or experiences within the central nervous system.

The core of EMDR treatment involves activating components of the traumatic memory or disturbing life event and pairing those components with alternating bilateral or dual attention stimulation. This process appears to facilitate the resumption of normal information processing and integration. This treatment approach can result in the alleviation of presenting symptoms, diminution of distress from the memory, improved view of the self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.

Research in over 40 randomized controlled studies has been conducted on EMDR Therapy in the treatment of trauma, as well as hundreds of published case studies evaluating a range of presenting complaints, including depression, anxiety, phobias, excessive grief, somatic conditions and addictions. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) designates EMDR as evidence-based practice for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety and depression. The American Psychological Association (2017) designated EMDR Therapy as an effective treatment for PTSD in adults. The US Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs recommends trauma-focused psychotherapies for PTSD, including EMDR. The World Health Organization (2013) released guidelines for treatment of trauma, recommending EMDR Therapy for children, adolescents and adults with PTSD.

The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2008) practice guidelines ranked EMDR as an evidence-based Level A treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in adults.

Internationally, EMDR has received a high level of recommendation for the treatment of trauma by the mental health departments of Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Israel and more.

For research and professional articles related to EMDR, visit the Francine Shapiro online library.

The Trauma Recovery EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program trains clinician within crisis or underserved communities throughout the world to treat trauma using EMDR. The HAP model emphasizes training and empowering local clinicians to treat those who have experienced difficult life experiences.