Eye Movement Desensitisation: Past Research, Complexities, and Future Directions


Psychology Section, HMAS STIRLING, Building 36, PO Box 228, Rockingham, WA, 6168, Australia


This paper reviews the present state of knowledge about the efficacy of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) as a treatment for traumatic memories, and draws on information-processing theory to identify basic problems with much of the research on this procedure. The general failure of this research to take into account the complexity and hypothesised theoretical underpinnings of EMDR is discussed, and suggestions are made for future research. Although EMDR has shown some promise as an effective intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), well controlled comparative outcome studies are required to establish its efficacy before investigation of its active therapeutic components should be undertaken.