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Open Access The Neurobiology of EMDR: Exploring the Thalamus and Neural Integration

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Recent neuroimaging studies on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have revealed a consistent decrease in thalamic activity, relative to non-PTSD controls. Empirical studies of the past decade have shown the thalamus to be centrally involved in the integration of perceptual, somatosensory, memorial, and cognitive processes (thalamo-cortical-temporal binding). A theoretical model is proposed to suggest that one underlying mechanism of EMDR stimulation (dual-attention stimulation/bilateral stimulation [DAS/BLS] ) is thalamic activation, specifically of the ventrolateral and central-lateral nuclei. It is hypothesized that this may facilitate the repair and integration of somatosensory, memorial, cognitive, frontal lobe and synchronized hemispheric functions that are disrupted in PTSD.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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