EMDR, what is it?


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a modern and widely accepted psychotherapy approach, accelerates the treatment of a wide range of symptoms, difficulties, and self-esteem issues related both to past traumatic events and present life conditions. EMDR has been empirically tested with individuals presenting with a broad range of concerns including loss of a loved one, rape, sexual molestation, physical and emotional abuse, and exposure to combat and natural disaster. 

EMDR has also been used extensively in the treatment of non-traumatized individuals who are experiencing problems with anxiety, low mood, work and relationship difficulties.  Over 60,000 clinicians internationally have been trained in EMDR.  Controlled studies of survivors of combat, rape, molestation, accident, catastrophic loss and natural disaster indicate that EMDR is capable of a rapid reprocessing of traumatic memories, including a cognitive restructuring and a significant reduction of client symptoms such as emotional distress, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares.  Substantial research supports application of EMDR to trauma-related disorders.  The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the Dept of Veterans Affairs and DOD, The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have listed EMDR as efficacious in the treatment of PTSD.  ( See www.emdr.com/efficacy.htm )  In addition, an extensive literature of case studies have been published on the effective use of EMDR for clients with less severe presenting problems.


I have been using EMDR in my clinical practice since 2005 and it is an integrative aspect of my clinical work.  EMDR combines well with other adjunctive treatment methods I employ especially cognitive behavioral, mindfulness, imagery and somatic (body centered) psychotherapy.  EMDR can be useful not only in resolving major life traumas but also with lesser traumas which also can have lasting effects on the individual.  Any trauma, big-T or small-t can generate disturbing states of emotion and thought which can be triggered in the present time.  EMDR therapy can help clients overcome the accumulated negative effects of the many small and big traumas experienced over the course of their lives.  Symptom relief and personal change take place more rapidly and deeply than through conventional talk therapy. 

Further information resources 

The EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program is a non-profit organization which provides pro-bono EMDR trainings internationally to clinicians working in war zones, locations of strife, and areas affected by natural disaster.

The EMDR International Association is a professional association of EMDR clinicians and establishes standards for EMDR practice, research, and training.  EMDRIA also maintains a listing of certified EMDR clinicians as well as approved trainers.

The EMDR Institute, Inc website provides general information on EMDR as well as information on trainings given by the Institute.  Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., developer of EMDR, and Robbie Dunton, MA are directors of the EMDR Institute. 

Extensive collection of articles related to trauma and trauma recovery including EMDR Journal articles published from 1989 through 2003 have been listed by David Baldwin on his trauma information website.

The European EMDR Association is a professional association of EMDR therapists in Europe that publishes an EMDR e-journal, The EMDR Practitioner.


Carin M. Beasley, Psychotherapist


Sherwood Hall Medical Center

2616 Sherwood Hall Lane,

Suite 206

Alexandria, Virgina 22306

Phone : (703) 795-5006