Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is often used by clinicians who work with clients that have experienced trauma.  The APA describes the research on EMDR as controversial and reported that it is difficult to tell if clients are helped by the exposure element alone or if the eye movements are necessary. (You can read more about that here.) Nevertheless, many therapists find it to be a useful approach.  Therapists who use EMDR recommended the following resources for those who are exploring the techniques or improving their skills.  If EMDR feels like a fit for you, you might also consider certification through the EMDR Institute.
Note: Most links are affiliate links which means we make a small commission without costing you anything extra. You can learn more here.

EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Traumaby Francine Shapiro and Margot Silk Forrest

When EMDR was first published in 1997, it was hailed as the most important method to emerge in psychotherapy in decades. In the twenty years since, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has successfully treated psychological problems for millions of sufferers worldwide. In this updated edition, Francine Shapiro offers a new introduction that presents the latest applications of this remarkable therapy, as well as new scientific data demonstrating its efficacy. Drawing on the experiences of thousands of clinicians as well as a vast research literature on depression, addiction, PTSD, and other disorders, she explains how life experiences are physically stored in our brains, making us feel and act in harmful ways, and how EMDR therapy can bring relief, often in a remarkably short period of time. Applicable to survivors of trauma as well as people suffering from phobias and other experience-based disorders, EMDR is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand why we hurt, how we heal, and how we get better.

EMDR in the Treatment of Adults Abused as Children by Laurel Parnell Ph.D.

This book shows therapists how to integrate EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) into the treatment so that adults who have been abused as children clear their trauma more rapidly, escape falling into the victim mentality, and proceed to lead full, productive lives. For therapists already familiar with EMDR, it covers the primary treatment issues and symptomatology of these clients and specific alterations of the standard EMDR protocol. For therapists experienced with treating abuse survivors, it introduces a safe and effective way to process trauma.
Emphasizing the practical, Laurel Parnell not only teaches many techniques to help the therapist when an impasse is reached, but also provides a selection of treatment choices. She demonstrates how EMDR can be used in the beginning phase of therapy for ego strengthening and the development and installation of resources. This prepares clients for trauma processing in the middle phase. Finally, in the end phase, clients integrate their experiences and often feel an awakening of their creativity and spirituality. Cases are used throughout to provide therapists with a deeper, more grounded understanding of different kinds of abuse cases and their treatment.

A Therapist’s Guide to EMDR: Tools and Techniques for Successful Treatmentby Laurel Parnell Ph.D.

A Therapist’s Guide to EMDR reviews the theoretical basis for EMDR and presents new information on the neurobiology of trauma. It provides a detailed explanation of the procedural steps along with helpful suggestions and modifications.

Areas essential to successful utilization of EMDR are emphasized. These include: case conceptualization; preparation for EMDR trauma processing, including resource development and installation; target development; methods for unblocking blocked processing, including the creative use of interweaves; and session closure. Case examples are used throughout to illustrate concepts. The emphasis in this book is on clinical usefulness, not research. This book goes into the therapy room with clinicians who actually use EMDR, and shows readers how to do it in practice, not just in theory. In short, this is the new, practical book on EMDR.

-There are only three evidence-based therapies for trauma: prolonged-exposure therapy (PE), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). EMDR was found to help in fewer sessions and does not require homework between sessions, making it the fastest evidence-based therapy there is. It is the classic treatment for veterans and those suffering the effects of traumatic events such as hurricanes and other forms of devastation.




Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has established itself as an evidence-based psychotherapy for the treatment of trauma and other related mental health disorders. Despite the numerous studies touting EMDR’s efficacy, it is still largely regarded as too complicated to understand, a major factor in why many who have been trained in EMDR no longer use it. EMDR Made Simple: 4 Approaches to Using EMDR with Every Client offers a fresh approach to understanding, conceptualizing, and ultimately implementing EMDR into clinical settings. Dr. Jamie Marich brings in her clinical experience from other modalities and disciplines to show that EMDR is more than just a series of protocols that need to be mastered in order for it to be effective. Using common sense language, clinical cases, and practical examples, EMDR Made Simple will give you the tools to build on your existing clinical knowledge and make EMDR work for you and your clients.


If you know of another book that belongs on this list let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.

Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection, for supervision and continuing education, or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)