A FLASH OF HOPE: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

Document Type


Publication Date



Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a specific treatment modality that utilizes bilateral stimulation to help individuals who have experienced trauma. This stimulation can occur in a variety of forms, including left-right eye movements, tapping on the knees, headphones, or handheld buzzers, known as tappers. This type of psychotherapy allows the individuals to redefine their self-assessment and responses to a given traumatic event in eight defined steps. While EMDR is relatively new type of psychotherapy, existing literature has demonstrated positive results using this form of therapy when treating patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by utilizing eye movements to detract from negative conceptualizations as a response to a specific trigger, while reaffirming positive self-assessments. Research indicates that EMDR could be a promising treatment for mental health issues other than PTSD, including bipolar disorder, substance use disorders, and depressive disorders. In this article, the eight fundamental processes of EMDR are illustrated through a composite case vignette and examined alongside relevant research regarding its efficacy in treating PTSD.

Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users