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Abstract

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a new and controversial cognitive–behavioural treatment technique that combines cognitive processing and exposure methodology to treat conditioned emotional responding and other trauma-related symptoms. EMDR is controversial in part due to initial excessive claims by its originator, Francine Shapiro, and also because of what many believe to be Shapiro's proprietary emphasis in controlling who may use the technique with patients. In this paper our aim is to take an objective look at the process and effectiveness of this technique. The purpose here is to (1) offer a brief objective review of the outcome literature to date on EMDR; (2) present a short summary of results of an ‘early look’ at an ongoing controlled study of this method that we are presently conducting; (3) speculate on the merits of this approach based on both scientific and clinical experience with EMDR and (4) offer a brief description of the evolved process of EMDR along with a commentary on that process.