EMDR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does EMDR stand for?

EMDR stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.”

Who developed EMDR and how long has it been around?

EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro in the bay area of California. In 1987 she noticed that eye movements could be used to decrease the intensity of a negative emotion, in 1988 she completed a research study with trauma victims in 1988 and the first publication on the effects of the therapy was published in 1989, in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. So, it has now been around for 27 years.

What does EMDR do?

EMDR therapy is a way to treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and symptoms related to trauma. Not all dysfunction is due to things we have experienced in life but many symptoms, including anxiety, depression, self-esteem and relationship problems can have roots in traumatic events during childhood and later times in life.

What does research say about the effectiveness of EMDR?

When EMDR first came out in 1989 it was controversial because it appeared to be too good to be true. After heavy criticism the originator of EMDR decided to really dig into serious research efforts, because she wanted to the world to know about the powerful treatment outcomes she was witnessing. The research for EMDR is now very good, many studies have been done, and EMDR is designated as evidenced-based treatment for PTSD.

What organizations support EMDR treatment?

Organizations that endorse EMDR for PTSD include the World Health Organization (WHO), the Department Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMSHA).

Where can I find more detailed information about EMDR therapy and EMDR research?

For more detailed information about EMDR and organizations that have endorsed see theEMDR.com’s page on research.