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Why IEMT is Better Than EMDR

EMDR has been well marketed as the therapy technique for trauma and PTSD for many years now. While I will not deny that EMDR can be very effective in treating trauma, it does have it's short comings (as detailed in this article EMDR vs Hypnosis + NLP).

eye with rainbow across it

While EMDR is primarily used to treat trauma, IEMT can be used for much more.

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is considered a "mental health treatment technique" for trauma and PTSD. According to the EMDR Institute, "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that is designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories."

Basically EMDR involves moving your eyes a specific way while you process traumatic memories. Compared to other therapy methods, EMDR is considered new with the first clinical trial happening in 1989. EMDR research claims that the technique is effective and can help a person faster than many other methods.

What Is IEMT?

IEMT stands for, Integral Eye Movement Therapy. IEMT is also considered a "mental health treatment technique" for trauma, PTSD and more. According to the Association of IEMT Practitioners, "IEMT is a proposed brief therapy and an evolving field that enables a core state change in minimal time".

Basically IEMT involves moving your eyes in a specific way while you process traumatic memories. As with EDMR, it too is considered new. This is where the similarities end and IEMT pulls ahead.

EMDR and IEMT are exactly the same in the same way that Freud's 'Psychoanalysis' and Bandler's 'NLP' are exactly the same because they both use words. - Andrew T. Austin

What EMDR involves

EMDR is a model built around resolving trauma

  • Is an application for resolving PTSD

  • Traumatic imagery is central to the work and the client is encouraged to "observe" trauma

  • Uses eye movement as well as tapping and alternating sounds

  • Utilizes affirmations and positive belief statements

  • Only psychologists and medical professionals can be officially certified in EMDR

  • Developed from the "original idea" (heavily debated) of Francine Shapiro

What IEMT involves

IEMT is a model built around addressing and resolving The 5 Patterns of Chronicity

  • Has applications in resolving PTSD

  • Traumatic imagery is largely irrelevant to the process

  • Addresses imprints of emotion for creating kinesthetic change

  • Addresses imprints of identity for creating change in self-concept

  • Uses eye movement as the dominant mechanism for change

  • By design readily creates introspection and an alpha state with free-floating imagery

  • Prior qualification is not necessary for training in IEMT

  • Developed from an original idea from Steve and Connirae Andreas and Andrew T. Austin


EMDR is for PTSD

IEMT can be used for PTSD and other issues - WIN

EMDR requires clients to relive/observe traumatic events

IEMT works without needing clients to relive, or observe traumatic events - WIN

EMDR uses eye movement however doesn't acknowledge the NLP eye movement model and is not the primary or dominant mechanism for change

IEMT uses eye movement, acknowledges the NLP eye model as well as EMI and uses this as the dominant mechanism for change. - WIN

IEMT addresses imprints of emotion and identity - WIN

EMDR Utilizes affirmations and positive belief statements - WIN

EMDR certification is gatekept behind a psychology and/or medical degree

IEMT requires no pre-qualifications for training certification allowing more availability and cost benefits to clients -WIN

EMDR - 1/6


The Shortcomings of EMDR and the Gatekeeping of Processes

EMDR is considered to be a "specialized" technique that only psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and medical professionals can practice and administer. In my article EMDR vs Hypnosis + NLP we learn that EMDR refuses to acknowledge the NLP eye movement model (despite there being overwhelming evidence that NLP was the catalyst for it's creation). NLP while it does require training, it most certainly doesn't require the high bar that EMDR requires. It is for this reason that EMDR is unable to acknowledge the NLP eye movement model at all. By completely disregarding this model, EMDR does several things;

  1. It allows the process to be gatekept to those deemed "qualified" to learn and administer it.

  2. It loses it's potential effectiveness and consistency of results

  3. It creates controversy around how and why it works and just what makes it so special

All this just to keep a technique specialized during a time where mental health issues are at an all time high and people need mental health services more than ever. Not to mention the high cost of entry equals a high cost of service to clients.

I want to take a moment and state that just because the NLP eye model isn't observed, or recognized in EMDR, that does not mean that it doesn't work for some people, some of the time. Over the last 30 years there are lots of evidence, case studies and testimonials. However, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Why IEMT Is Better Than EMDR

Right out of the gate, IEMT acknowledges the NLP eye movement model as well as EMI (Eye Movement Integration) and then builds upon it adding things like Clean Language. By doing these two fundamental things practitioners are more able to see exactly how the brain is accessing traumatic memories and begin the reprocessing from where they originate. Second, this technique is readily available to learn so we can have more trained practitioners helping people which is a huge positive. Third, it works in real time and can be calibrated directly by the client for them to see and feel the changes instantly. Fourth, it adds in an additional identity integration process which is a vital and important piece in the trauma recovery process that is completely missing in EMDR. Finally, IEMT can be used in other mental health applications.


Brand name drugs always enjoy their time in the sun until the more cost effective versions are released. While EMDR dominated the mental health field for over 30 years, because it was gatekept behind a restrictive cost of entry it was only a matter of time before a more cost effective process emerged. Unlike the inferior versions of the brand names, this time it became superior. When the fundamental principles behind your process are based on a technology that doesn't require a 6 year degree to understand, it was only a matter of time. If NLP and EMI invented the airplane and EMDR created the Cessna, IEMT created the jet. I have no doubt that eventually another process will come along and it will be the Concorde. Until then, it really doesn't matter which is better, or how they are different, or the same. People suffering from trauma and PTSD have another option and more doors open to them. That is all that matters in the end.

I hope you enjoyed my article about why IEMT is better than EMDR. For more content check out my other blogs and YouTube page.


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