Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR is a structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a psychotherapy method that helps people recover from trauma and PTSD symptoms. Ongoing research supports positive clinical outcomes showing EMDR therapy as a helpful treatment for disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, chronic pain, addictions, and other distressing life experiences.

Last reviewed: 2023

Intended Outcomes:

  • Target the past events that trigger disturbance
  • Target the current situations that trigger disturbance
  • Determine the skills and education needed for future functioning
  • Reduce subjective distress
  • Strengthen positive beliefs
  • Eliminate negative physical responses
  • Promote learning and integration so that the trauma memory is changed to a source of resilience

Continuum of Care:

Topic Areas:
Anxiety, Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Depression, Substance Use, Trauma

Adult (25+), Childhood (4-12), Early Childhood (0-3), Teen/Adolescent (13-18), Young Adult (19-24)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:

Cultural Considerations:
A balanced amount of the research involved diverse populations

Individuals who have experienced trauma

Licensed mental health professional


Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info

Who can provide the required training?
Trainers go through certification process via the EMDR International Association

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

Rodenburg, R., Benjamin, A., de Roos, C., Meijer, A. M., & Stams, G. J. (2009). Efficacy of EMDR in children: A meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review, 29(7), 599-606.

Bano˘glu, K., & Korkmazlar, Ü. (2022). Efficacy of the eye movement desensitization and reprocessing group protocol with children in reducing posttraumatic stress disorder in refugee children. European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 6(1), Article 100241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejtd.2021.100241

Treen, D., Pérez, V., Amann, B. L., & Radua, J. (2016). Efficacy of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in Children and Adolescent with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01750

Jaberghaderi, N., Rezaei, M., Kolivand, M., & Shokoohi, A. (2019). Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in Child Victims of Domestic Violence. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 14(1), 67-75. https://doi.org/10.18502/ijps.v14i1.425

Diehle, J., Opmeer, B.C., Boer, F., Mannarino, A.P., & Lindauer, R.J. (2014). Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: what works in children with posttraumatic stress symptoms? A randomized controlled trial. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 24, 227-236

Additional Sources:


Supported By Research

WV Rating:
Supported by Research
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

Reviewers noted that many studies conducted in the United States were older than 10 years. Due to importance of some of those studies, two were included in the final review. Studies showed that EMDR is effective with PTSD in youth but not necessarily other diagnoses. There was research available for adult populations but that was outside the scope of guidance for the review. Reviewed studies included youth 18 and under.

Contraindications or Concerns:
None identified

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Well-Supported by Research Evidence

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Not On Registry

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Not On Registry

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Found on the registry. See link for more information.

Washington State Institute for Public Policy Registry Link: