REPORT: 3rd EMDR Asia Conference 2017, Shanghai, China

The 3rd EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Asia Conference was held in Shanghai, China, in 2017. This significant event brought together experts, practitioners, and researchers from across Asia and beyond to discuss advancements in EMDR therapy and its application in treating trauma to promote peace and mental health. The conference was well appreciated by professionals, researchers, practitioners, and students interested in EMDR therapy.

Conference Overview
Date: 21st – 23rd April 2017
Location: Shanghai, China
Theme : Treating Trauma Through EMDR For Peace
Venue : Shanghai Everbright International Hotel, Xuhui
District, Shanghai, China

EMDR Asian Association
EMDR China Organization
Chinese Association for Mental Health Psychotherapy and Psycho-consultation Committee
Shanghai Mental Health Academy
Shanghai Mental Health Centre & Xinhua Hospital affiliate to Shanghai Jiao Tong University
School of Medicine

Objectives and Themes
The primary objectives of the conference were to:
1. Exchange Knowledge: Facilitate the sharing of the latest research findings, clinical practices, and theoretical advancements in EMDR therapy.
2. Enhance Skills: Provide opportunities for professional development through workshops, training sessions, and hands-on practice.
3. Promote Collaboration: Encourage networking and collaboration among EMDR practitioners, researchers, and organizations in Asia.
4. Focus on Peace: Explore the role of EMDR in healing trauma and fostering peace in individuals and communities affected by conflict and violence.

Keynote Speakers and Sessions
The conference featured several prominent keynote speakers who are leading figures in the field of trauma therapy and EMDR. Their presentations covered a wide range of topics including:

  1. A Global Collaboration Enhancing community and personal Resiliency through EMDR Training and Intervention
    Dr. Carol Martin’s presentation showcased Trauma Recovery/HAP’s (Humanitarian Assistance Programs) 22-year effort to improve global mental healthcare. They’ve delivered culturally sensitive EMDR training and intervention programs in over 30 countries, collaborating extensively to build resilience in underserved communities. The presentation explored their program’s development, challenges faced, and solutions found, offering valuable insights for expanding effective trauma treatment models worldwide.
  2. EMDR therapy as a body-oriented psychotherapy
    Dr. Udi Oren highlighted the body’s (somatic channel) importance in EMDR therapy, emphasizing its role since the beginning of the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) approach. While traditionally focused on sensory, cognitive, and emotional aspects, the presentation argued that the somatic experience is essential in understanding trauma and traumatic memories. Dr. Oren proposed a greater emphasis on the body within the EMDR protocol, citing recent research on its effectiveness in treating somatic disorders. He presented methods for using EMDR with patients experiencing both acute and chronic somatic conditions. The talk concluded by envisioning EMDR therapy as a cornerstone of medical services, particularly in developing countries, due to its potential benefits for broader healthcare.
  3. EMDR in South Korea: Research, Practice, and Dissemination
    Dr. Daeho Kim presented a personal account of the development and progress of EMDR therapy in South Korea since its introduction in 2003. Initially slow, public and professional interest in EMDR therapy surged following the Sewol Ferry Disaster in 2014, which brought national recognition to trauma as a social issue.
    Dr. Kim’s presentation explored various aspects of EMDR therapy in South Korea, including research conducted over the past 15 years, collaborations with other professional societies, and interactions with public and government bodies. He also addressed challenges related to insurance coverage and the national health system, as well as the impact of media portrayals of EMDR therapy. The presentation concluded by discussing the current state of EMDR training and its dissemination across the country. Dr. Kim highlighted the unique experiences of South Korea compared to Western countries and offered insights into the future of EMDR therapy in Korea and potentially across Asia.

Pre-Conference Workshops
The conference provided numerous workshops and training sessions designed to enhance the skills of EMDR practitioners. These sessions covered:
• EMDR emergency treatment for manmade and natural disasters: Dr. Gary Quinn
• EMDR therapy and gender-based violence: Dr. Derek Farrell
• EMDR therapy protocols for recent critical incidents and ongoing traumatic stress: Dr. Ignacio (Nacho) Jarero
• Treating Dissociative Disorders with EMDR: The Progressive Approach: Dr. Dolores Mosquera

Other workshops

• What happens when opposites meet? The contribution of a dialectical perspective to the AIP model : Bruit Laub
• Grief seen through the different stage of development from the perspective of EMDR: Chus Taboada
• Stabilization and Self-regulation In EMDR therapy: Eastern- Western confluence: Sheila Bender
• Recovery of the Psycho-Trauma : Presenter: Haiyin Zhang Moderator: Shijin Sun
• Sexual Trauma and Sexual transference Presenter: Kai Wenxu Moderator: Yingjun Xi
• Birth memories; uproot the archaic fears lived during birth; redeem the phobias and somatization which ensue from it: Sylvie Prager
• EMDR Therapy for Suicidal Clients and Self-harming Behaviorsa; Dolores Mosquera
• Listen to the body: Somatic awareness in EMDR therapy with complex trauma survivors: Maggie Poon
• Grief and EMDR Presenter: Qiuyun Lv Moderator: Yuchuan Yang
• EMDR therapy and Network Balance: understanding the physiological dimension of EMDR therapy, as a basis for rational decisions about variations to the standard protocol: Darra Murphy
• EMDR group protocol for adults: Fang Li
• Approach of trauma attachment and dissociation in eating disorders with EMDR therapy: Natalie Sejio
• How much love can reoccur?: Trauma Recovery in the Psychological Development Presenter: Xiaoli Wang, Yuanchao Hu, Qian Ye Moderator: Shuangge Sui & Jianjun Li
• Trauma and EMDR in Close Relationship, Presenter: Ding Mao, Hong Liu, Xiangzhen Ma
Moderator: Xiangzhen Ma & Guifang Kuang

Research and Practice Highlights

The Conference covered a wide range of research and practice applications of EMDR therapy. Here’s a glimpse into some of the key areas explored:

Treating Children and Adolescents:

  • Presentations addressed using EMDR group protocols to reduce trauma in school children, including those directly and indirectly affected by disasters.
  • A paper explored treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-morbid symptoms in Cambodian children using EMDR.
  • Another presentation discussed a case series using EMDR with traumatized preschoolers.

EMDR for Diverse Conditions:

  • Research explored the use of EMDR for depression, grief, somatic disorders (chronic pain), and tinnitus (ear ringing).
  • Papers examined EMDR applications in treating school bullying, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and opioid dependence.
  • There was a presentation on using EMDR to manage chronic fatigue symptoms.

EMDR Techniques and Theory:

  • A presentation investigated the impact of tactile stimulation on positive imagery during EMDR therapy.
  • Another paper reviewed the concept of resourcing in EMDR-informed therapy methods.
  • A panel discussion explored EMDR from the perspectives of psychoanalysis, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and EMDR.

EMDR in Different Contexts:

  • Presentations addressed implementing EMDR in school/university settings and faith-based trauma treatment for sexual addiction.
  • Papers discussed using EMDR in developing countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
  • There was a presentation on the development of EMDR programs in Thailand.

Additional Presentations:

  • Several case studies showcased using EMDR to treat complex trauma, relational trauma, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and dissociation.
  • A presentation explored the potential impact of EMDR on trauma related to poverty.
  • Another paper investigated the client’s perspective on EMDR therapy.

Poster Presentations

The conference also featured a wide range of poster presentations highlighting diverse applications of EMDR therapy. Here are some examples:

EMDR in Specific Cultures and Contexts:

  • A poster explored the cultural adaptation of EMDR therapy for use in Taiwan.
  • Another case study examined the effectiveness of EMDR for Taiwanese women with relationship trauma.

EMDR for Specific Conditions:

  • Posters addressed using EMDR for early-onset childhood OCD behaviors, fetishistic disorder, and kleptomania.
  • Another presentation investigated using EMDR to improve self-image and confidence.

EMDR for Diverse Populations:

  • A poster discussed using EMDR group therapy to address anger issues and emotional difficulties in institutionalized orphan girls.

Research on EMDR:

  • A poster presentation examined the impact of gaze direction during eye movement on memory intensity and vividness.
  • Another study investigated the link between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), depression, and PTSD among Thai college students.

These posters offer a snapshot of the ongoing exploration of EMDR therapy for various populations, clinical issues, and cultural contexts.


The 3rd EMDR Asia Conference in Shanghai served as a significant platform for knowledge exchange, skill development, and collaboration among EMDR practitioners across Asia. The conference emphasized the crucial role of EMDR therapy in addressing trauma and promoting peace, particularly in areas impacted by conflict and violence.

Looking ahead, the conference discussions identified key areas for future endeavors. These include expanding EMDR training programs to build a stronger network of qualified professionals across Asia. Collaborative research projects were also highlighted to further validate and refine EMDR techniques. Finally, the conference emphasized the importance of increasing public awareness about the benefits of EMDR therapy, advocating for its inclusion in mental health policies and programs. With this renewed commitment to research, training, and public education, EMDR therapy holds immense potential to continue its transformative role in healing trauma and fostering peace on a broader scale.

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