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Last updated on 1 August 2019


Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy 


EMDR therapy  is a 'trauma-informed' and phased approach to psychotherapy, which integrates a range of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) strategies with the use of bi-lateral stimulation (BLS).

Repetitive BLS (most commonly eye movement) appears to accelerate 'free association' through physiological induction of the orienting response (OR). This may be similar to what occurs naturally during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.

In the second edition of her textbook Shapiro wrote that if she had her time over she would call it Reprocessing therapy (Shapiro, 2001). The term 'EMDR therapy', therefore, signifies the evolution of Eye Movement Desensitisation (EMD) into Reprocessing therapy (R). The problem is this:
- simply calling it ‘EMDR’ risks equating 'EMDR treatment' (the procedure for targeting and reprocessing a disturbing memory, or Phases 3-6 of the Standard Protocol) with ‘EMDR therapy’ (a complex and structured approach to psychotherapy, or all 8 Phases, flexibly applied in a wide range of clinical scenarios). Throughout this website, therefore, the following defined abbreviations will be used:
- EMD (the original procedure, developed to deal with a single disturbing memory);
- EMDR (the 8-phase Standard Protocol, developed to treat PTSD related to more than one memory);
- EMDR treatment (targeting and reprocessing a disturbing memory - Phases 3-6 of the Standard Protocol);
- EMDR therapy (all 8-phases of the Standard Protocol, flexibly applied in a wide range of clinical scenarios and in  association with a range of other psychotherapeutic strategies, to address a wide spectrum of psychopathology) ... More

Dr Darra J Murphy

I am a general practitioner (GP). I was trained by Dr Shapiro and Senior Institute Instructors. I became an EMDR Institute Faculty Instructor in 2015 ... More

EMDR Institute


The EMDR Institute is the research and training organisation founded in 1995 by Dr Francine Shapiro PhD, the originator and developer of EMDR therapy... More

Basic Training

The EMDR Institute Basic Training,

developed by Dr Shapiro, is the only training regularly reviewed by her and ~50  Faculty Instructors internationally ... More