Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing is a proven treatment for PTSD and Complex PTSD.
EMDR, a memory-focused psychotherapy developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980's, is now recognized in the treatment guidelines of organizations around the world as a top-tier, evidence-based treatment for PTSD. The theory or model that guides EMDR therapy is the Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP Model). It proposes that psychological problems are due to a failure to adequately process traumatic experiences to a point of “adaptive resolution”. During EMDR sessions, the client attends to emotionally disturbing material in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on some form of external stimulation. Therapist-directed lateral eye movements are the most frequently used external stimulus but a variety of other stimuli, including hand-tapping and audio stimulation, are also used. Research also supports EMDR's effectiveness with other problems not obviously trauma-related—depression, anxiety, psychosis, pain, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse. It can be used to treat people dealing with single traumatic events as well as those dealing with a history of prolonged, repeated exposure to trauma in childhood or as an adult. It is used with people of all ages and can be administered, individually or in groups, immediately after an acute traumatic episode. A recent meta-analysis found that EMDR was not only clinically effective but also the most cost-effective of the eleven trauma therapies evaluated in the treatment of adults with PTSD (Mavranezouli et al., 2020).
Dr. Deborah Korn
Dr. Deborah Korn is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an adjunct training faculty member at the Trauma Research Foundation in Boston. Dr. Korn is a senior faculty member at the EMDR Institute where she has been on staff for the past 28 years. She is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research. EMDRIA is the organization focused on promoting, fostering, and preserving the highest standards of excellence and integrity in EMDR research, treatment, and education both in United States and internationally. Dr. Korn has authored, or coauthored numerous articles and chapters focused on EMDR therapy, including comprehensive reviews of EMDR applications with Complex PTSD. Her most recent book chapter, written with the developer of EMDR, Dr. Francine Shapiro, is included in the second edition of Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders in Adults, which was published in 2020. I encourage everyone to check out her new book Every Memory Deserves Respect: EMDR, the Proven Trauma Therapy with the Power to Heal, co-written with Michael Baldwin, a trauma survivor and EMDR client (not her own).
Click the links below to find out more about EMDR.