What is EMDR?

EMDR is an approach to psychotherapy including principles, procedures, and protocols. While the technique was originated utilizing eye movements, it is not a simple technique. To become trained in EMDR requires a strong therapeutic background and solid training in EMDR methodology. 

EMDR is based on the principle that all persons have both an innate tendency to move toward wellness, and the internal capacity to achieve it. EMDR is well grounded in psychological science, theory, and research.

Hypotheses of the EMDR Model

The Adaptive Information Processing model is the theoretical foundation of the EMDR approach. It is based on the following hypotheses:

1.  Within each person is a physiological information processing system through which new experiences and information are normally processed to an adaptive state. 

2.  Information is stored in memory networks that contain related thoughts, images, audio or olfactory memories, emotions, and bodily sensations. 

3.  Memory networks are organized around the earliest related event. 

4.  Traumatic experiences and persistent unmet interpersonal needs during crucial periods in development can produce blockages in the capacity of the adaptive information processing system to resolve distressing or traumatic events. 

5.  When information stored in memory networks related to a distressing or traumatic experience is not fully processed, it gives rise to dysfunctional reactions. 

6.  The result of adaptive processing is learning, relief of emotional and somatic distress, and the availability of adaptive responses and understanding. 

7.  Information processing is facilitated by specific types of bilateral sensory stimulation. Based on observational and experimental data, Shapiro has referred to this stimulation as bilateral stimulation (Shapiro, 1995) and dual attention stimulation (Shapiro, 2001). 

8.  Alternating, left-right, visual, audio and tactile stimulation when combined with the other specific procedural steps used in EDMR enhance information processing.

9.  Specific, focused strategies for sufficiently stimulating access to dysfunctionally stored information (and in some cases, adaptive information) generally need to be combined with bilateral stimulation in order to produce adaptive information processing. 

10.  EMDR procedures foster a state of balanced or dual attention between internally accessed information and external bilateral stimulation.  In this state the client experiences simultaneously the distressing memory and the present context. 

11.  The combination of EMDR procedures and bilateral stimulation results in decreasing the vividness of disturbing memory images and related affect, facilitating access to more adaptive information and forging new associations within and between memory networks. 

It is central to EMDR that positive results from its application derive from the interaction between clinician, method and client. Therefore graduate education in a mental health field (e.g., clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, or marriage and family therapy) leading to eligibility for licensure, certification or registration, along with supervised training, are considered essential to achieve optimal results. Meta-analytic research (Maxfield & Hyer, 2002) indicates that degree of fidelity to the published EMDR procedures is highly correlated with the outcome of EMDR procedures. Evidence of fidelity in procedure and appropriateness of protocol is considered central to both research and clinical application of EMDR.

Our Commitment:

The Advanced Education Institute is committed to provide the highest quality EMDR Training to the serious mental health professionals seeking training.  Advanced Education Institute is dedicated to the fidelity of training based on Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.'s development of EMDR.

Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. developed EMDR based on clinical observation, controlled research, feedback from clinicians whom she had trained and previous scholarly and scientific studies of information processing.  Northern California Training's Basic EMDR Training is based on the work of Shapiro as it is described in her writings (Shapiro, 2001).   

Our Philosophy:

The Advanced Education Institute's philosophy is consistant with the EMDR International Association philosophy. EMDRIA philosophy states "EMDR is intended to alleviate human suffering and assist individuals and human society to fulfill their potential for development while minimizing risks of harm in its application. For the client, the aim of EMDR treatment is to achieve the most profound and comprehensive treatment effects in the shortest period of time, while maintaining client stability within a balanced family and social system" (emdria.org).






Maxfield, L., & Hyer, L. (2002). The relationship between efficacy and methodology in the treatment of PTSD with EMDR. Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Shapiro, F. (1995). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures. (1st ed.) New York: The Guilford Press.

Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures. (2nd ed.) New York: The Guilford Press.