Pictured above: Women in Bangladesh receiving the EMDR-IGTP in 2019.

About EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To learn more, visit www.emdria.org.

EMDR therapy has been declared an effective form of trauma treatment by a wide range of organizations. In the United States, these include the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and the World Health Organization.

How do EMDR Group Interventions Work?

There are a variety of ways to conduct EMDR group interventions depending to your purpose, intent and needs of the group. The group protocols administer the eight phases of EMDR individual treatment to a group of patients, using an art therapy format and the Butterfly Hug as a self-administered bilateral stimulation method to process traumatic material. In most cases, it is recommended to administer this protocol four to six times in consecutive days, twice a day (morning and afternoon). 

To learn more about each protocol, see the descriptions below.

Types of EMDR Group Intervention Protocols

 These protocols were designed to accomplish the following main objectives: ​

  • Be part of a comprehensive program (continuum of care) for trauma treatment

  • Identify those who need further assistance

  • Reduce post-traumatic symptoms

  • Confront traumatic material

  • Bring to conscious awareness those aspects of the trauma that were dissociated

  • Facilitate the expression of painful emotions or shameful behaviors

  • Offer the patient support and empathy

  • Condense the different aspects of trauma into representative and more manageable images

  • Increase patient's perception of mastery over the distressing elements of the traumatic experience

  • Reprocess traumatic memories

  • Treat individual trauma in a group setting

  • Normalize the reactions - Clients can see that their reactions are normal since other patients are working on their memories in the same manner



Advantages of the Group Protocol
  • Group treatment can be used in non-private settings such as under a mango tree, in shelters, open-air clinic, and so forth

  • Clients in the group do not have to verbalize information about the trauma

  • Therapy can be done on subsequent days and there is no need for homework between sessions 

  • Protocol is easily taught to both new and experienced EMDR practitioners

  • Equally effective cross-culturally

  • People are treated more quickly, involving larger segments of the affected community

  • When single clinicians are able to be assisted by paraprofessionals, teachers, or family members, it allows for a wider application of this protocol in societies with few mental health professionals

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Photo Credit: Ari Kipnis