EMDR Therapy in Child, Youth and Adult Psychotherapy


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that is becoming increasingly widespread today. While it was used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in the early 1990s, it has also been used in the treatment of problems such as childhood traumas, obsessive-compulsive disorder, performance anxiety, anxiety disorder, and chronic pain in recent years.

EMDR therapy consists of an eight-step protocol developed by Francine Shapiro based on Adaptive Information Processing Theory (AIP). Adaptive Information Processing, in its simplest form, is to give bidirectional stimulation to both hemispheres of the brain by moving the eyes to the right and left directions. Shapiro stated that these eye movements are related to the “REM” phase during sleep. Our mind processes the events that we experience during the day during this phase. All kinds of painful experiences prevent the resolution of events or the healthy construction of other memories due to the pressure it creates in the system.

Let’s imagine the moment a child falls to the ground, has deep abrasions on his leg and is bleeding, after a while this physical injury becomes crusty. After a few days, it repairs itself and resumes its function in the same color and in the same tissue. Similarly, the AIP theory proposes that the brain processes events. As a result of overstimulation, the person records the information as maladaptive incompatible information. If the intensity of arousal is traumatic for the person, the healthy processing process in the brain does not continue. The form of this event is stored in a knotted state in the mind. If we define trauma as the incompatible coding of an event that hinders human development and negatively affects mental health, “Emdr Therapy” focuses on reprocessing the maladative recorded information by accessing these memory networks, and thus the client begins the healing process.


The first research on EMDR started in 1987. When we examine many scientific researches from that period until today; There is evidence that it is an important therapy method for the client to reach the target point.

Below are some of the studies in question:

· Atasoy administered EMDR therapy to 12 of 24 students with high alexithymic levels in 2002. According to the results of the research, it was observed that there was a qualitative decrease in alexithymic levels, since the initial and final tests were taken into account.

· Cook-Vienot and Taylor (2012), in their study with 30 students with high test anxiety, found that EMDR Therapy significantly reduced test anxiety.

· In PTSD patients, it has been found that the part of the brain responsible for memory, called the hippocampus, is smaller than normal.

According to the results of 8-12 sessions of EMDR therapy, it was observed that the “hippocampus” grew by six percent. (Shapiro, Erasing Painful Memories with EMDR Therapy Techniques)


  • World Health Organization (WHO, World Health Organization)

  • American Psychiatric Association (APA, American Psychiatric Association)

  • International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

  • Turkish Psychiatric Association

international organizations that accept the effectiveness of this method.


Since Emdr therapy is based on an eight-step protocol, each protocol proceeds in a specific way. New information can be encountered as memory networks are accessed according to people’s experiences, current life conditions, values ​​and traumatic past life history. This information reminds us that therapy is a cyclical process, not a linear one. With this situation, the statement that a personal process is followed would be a correct assurance.

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