Model, Methodology & Mechanism

Model is the “why”


  • Adaptive Information Processing (AIP)
    • Distinct explanatory information processing model that is the foundation of EMDR
    • Guides history taking, case conceptualization and clinical intervention
    • Interprets clinical observations
    • Predicts adaptive treatment outcomes
    • Naturally occurring physical system that is adaptive
  • Paradigm is independent of any neurobiological process

Methodology is the “how”

  • Based on eight phases and Three-Pronged Protocol that organizes past, present and future
  • Standard protocols and procedures guided by safeguards and ethics
  • Specific clinical situations may require validated modifications
  • Fidelity to the EMDR model is key to positive outcomes (Maxfield & Hyer, 2002)

Mechanism is the “what”

  • Orienting response or reflex is the immediate reaction to change in the environment
    • Cognitive/information processing
      • Working memory and dual attention
    • Behavioral
      • Parasympathetic system is activated during processing
    • Neurobiological
      • Cerebellum processes visual signals
      • Hippocampal remapping – consolidates information from ST to LT memory
      • Limbic depotentiation
      • Frontal lobe activation
      • Thalamus processes and relays sensory information for neural integration
      • REM sleep
  • Eye movements reduce image vividness and emotionality