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EMDR and Adaptive Information Processing

7 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $69.00

Developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.

Dr. Shapiro is the originator of EMDR and founder of the EMDR Institute, Inc

Course materials: text/webpage Articles

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General Course Description

EMDR is internationally regarded as an empirically supported treatment for traumatic memories. It is an integrative, client-centered psychotherapy approach that is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing model. It emphasizes the brain's information processing system and memories of disturbing experiences as the bases of those pathologies not caused by organic deficit or insult. EMDR, which was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, addresses the experiences that contribute to clinical conditions and those needed to bring the client to a robust state of psychological health. This approach is used to process the early memories that set the foundation for the pathology and the present situations that trigger the dysfunction. It also provides templates for appropriate future action that incorporate the information and behaviors needed to overcome skill and/or developmental deficits. In its twenty-year history, numerous publications have indicated that EMDR can be successfully applied to a wide variety of clinical complaints and diagnoses.

According to the World Health Organization (2013). Guidelines for the management of conditions that are specifically related to stress. Geneva, WHO:

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and EMDR are the only psychotherapies recommended for children, adolescents and adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). No pharmaceuticals are recommended.

"Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors are the result of unprocessed memories. The treatment involves standardized procedures that include focusing simultaneously on (a) spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and (b) bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements.

Like CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive beliefs related to the traumatic event. Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve (a) detailed descriptions of the event, (b) direct challenging of beliefs, (c) extended exposure, or (d) homework." (p.1

This beginner-level course is comprised of five articles and book chapters that provide an overview of the EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) approach, its guiding information processing model, and its clinical applications. The first article presents an overview of the history, development, and research that have established EMDR as an empirically supported treatment, and a case example to illustrate EMDR case conceptualization and eight phases of treatment. The second reading provides a transcript of a representative processing session that illustrates the associative aspects of memory. It also illustrates the way in which the treatment effects can be viewed through the lenses of various therapy orientations. The third reading provides an in-depth discussion of the Adaptive Information Processing model and its implications for a variety of common clinical complaints and phenomena. The fourth reading offers an overview of the differences between EMDR and other forms of trauma treatment. It also includes the various proposed mechanisms of action. The fifth reading provides a representative case report and a detailed discussion of the EMDR application to a borderline personality disorder client. Finally, there are lists of References and Resources.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Define the phases of treatment that comprise EMDR's integrative psychotherapy approach.

2.    Summarize the Adaptive Information Processing model that guides EMDR treatment and case conceptualization.

3.    Conceptualize a case from an information processing perspective.

4.    List the types of cases amenable to EMDR treatment.

5.    Describe the kinds of cognitive, emotional, somatic, and behavioral changes attainable with EMDR.

6.    Define the three-pronged approach dealing with past events, current triggers, and ways to address developmental deficits.

Course Syllabus

History of EMDR

Case Conceptualization and Case studies

Integrated Psychotherapy Approach

Similarities to and Differences from other forms of treatment

Controlled Research

Theories and Mechanisms of Action

Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) Model

  • Memory Networks
  • Pathology According to the AIP Model
  • Associative Nature of Memory
  • Transmutation of Memory
  • Personality Development and Reorganization
  • AIP and Family Dynamics

EMDR Treatment Approach

  • Eight Phases
  • Three-Pronged Protocol (Past, Present, Future)
  • Symptom reduction and comprehensive therapy
  • Goals of EMDR Therapy
  • Treatment of various clinical complaints
    • PTSD and other Anxiety Disorders
    • Borderline and other Personality Disorders
    • Somatoform Disorders
    • Attachment
    • Dissociation and Memory Lapses
    • Self-esteem Issues
    • Experiential contributors to generic complaints

"Time Free" Psychotherapy

Treatment Evaluations



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