What is EMDR?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is a widely recognized efficacious treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR is an eight phase treatment protocol that includes evaluation, preparation, stabilization, and processing of traumatic memories. The theory behind EMDR is that memory networks storing traumatic events are unable to connect to adaptive information processing networks. Eye movements or dual-processing stimuli facilitate processing of traumatic memories and other integrated techniques help to instill new positive thoughts, or cognitions.

EMDR and Depression

In a recent study, Gauhar (2016) and associates found that EMDR was an effective treatment for depression. Twenty-six participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to 6-8 sessions of EMDR treatment or the wait list control group. Overall, those in the EMDR group showed significant improvement in their depressive symptoms and associated traumatic memories. Additionally, they showed improved quality of life that maintained at a 3 month follow-up.

The study results demonstrate EMDR can be an effective treatment for depression, including major depressive disorder.


Gauhar, Y. (2016). The Efficacy of EMDR in the Treatment of Depression. Journal of EMDR Research and Practice, 10(2), 59-69.