What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, commonly known as EMDR, is a transformative psychotherapy technique originally developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. It has since been used to help millions of people recover from the emotional distress associated with traumatic memories. Unlike traditional talk therapy, EMDR uses a structured eight-phase approach that incorporates bilateral stimulation, often in the form of guided eye movements, to help patients process and integrate distressing memories.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR therapy is divided into eight phases, each with a unique focus:

  1. History-Taking and Treatment Planning: Understanding the patient’s history and identifying target memories for EMDR.
  2. Preparation: Building trust between the therapist and the patient and explaining the EMDR process.
  3. Assessment: Identifying the specific memories, negative beliefs, and physical sensations to be targeted.
  4. Desensitization: Using bilateral stimulation to process memories and reduce their emotional charge.
  5. Installation: Replacing negative beliefs with positive ones.
  6. Body Scan: Identifying and processing any physical tension related to the memory.
  7. Closure: Returning to a state of equilibrium.
  8. Reevaluation: Assessing the effectiveness of the therapy and any need for further treatment.

Conditions Treated by EMDR

EMDR is most commonly associated with treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but its applications are far-reaching. Other conditions that may benefit from EMDR therapy include:

Anxiety Disorders
Chronic Pain
Eating Disorders
Substance Abuse Disorders

Why Choose EMDR?

Scientifically Supported
EMDR is one of the few therapies for trauma with extensive scientific backing. Numerous clinical trials have shown it to be effective in treating a range of emotional and psychological disorders.

Because EMDR aims to get to the root of the issue quickly, it often requires fewer sessions than traditional psychotherapy to achieve meaningful results.

Holistic Approach
EMDR doesn’t just treat the symptoms; it aims to reprocess the memory itself, thereby reducing or eliminating its emotional charge and associated symptoms.

History of EMDR

Developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987, EMDR has gained international recognition and has been recommended by organizations like the American Psychological Association and the World Health Organization for the treatment of trauma.

Who Should Consider EMDR?

If you’ve been struggling with emotional or psychological distress related to past experiences, EMDR may be an effective treatment option for you. Consult a certified EMDR therapist to discuss whether this treatment is appropriate for your specific condition.


EMDR is a powerful and scientifically supported form of psychotherapy that has helped millions find relief from emotional and psychological distress. By directly addressing the root cause of these issues, EMDR offers a pathway to healing and a renewed sense of well-being.

Note: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.


Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Bisson, J. I., Roberts, N. P., Andrew, M., Cooper, R., & Lewis, C. (2013). Psychological therapies for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (12), CD003388.

American Psychological Association. (2017). Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Adults. Retrieved from APA website

World Health Organization. (2013). Guidelines for the Management of Conditions Specifically Related to Stress. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Chen, L., Zhang, G., Hu, M., & Liang, X. (2015). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing versus Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adult Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 203(6), 443–451.

Seidler, G. H., & Wagner, F. E. (2006). Comparing the efficacy of EMDR and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of PTSD: a meta-analytic study. Psychological Medicine, 36(11), 1515–1522.

Lee, C. W., & Cuijpers, P. (2013). A meta-analysis of the contribution of eye movements in processing emotional memories. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 44(2), 231–239.