Leone Centre Glossary

Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) in EMDR

Adaptive Information Processing (AIP)

Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) is a fundamental concept within Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This theory suggests that the brain’s natural processing system can heal psychological trauma.

About AIP

Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) theory posits that traumatic memories are stored differently in the brain, causing distress and dysfunctional responses. EMDR therapy utilises AIP to reprocess these memories, aiming to integrate them into the brain’s natural memory network. This process can lead to a significant reduction in emotional distress and an improvement in mental well-being.

Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) is central to understanding how EMDR therapy functions. This theory suggests that the brain has a natural ability to process and integrate information, including traumatic memories, into a cohesive and healthy framework.

How It Helps

AIP helps explain why some traumatic memories cause ongoing distress. By understanding AIP, clients and experienced therapists can work together to reprocess these memories, potentially reducing their effects and promoting mental well-being.

How It Works

During EMDR sessions, the therapist guides the client through specific protocols that activate the brain’s information processing system. This process aims to transform distressing memories into more adaptive and integrated ones, aligning with the AIP theory.


What is Adaptive Information Processing (AIP)?
Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) is a theory in EMDR therapy that explains how the brain processes and integrates traumatic memories. It suggests that the brain can naturally heal itself by reprocessing these memories.
How does AIP relate to EMDR therapy?
AIP is the theoretical foundation of EMDR therapy. It posits that through specific therapeutic protocols, the brain can reprocess traumatic memories, leading to reduced psychological distress and improved mental health.
What are the benefits of understanding AIP?
Understanding AIP provides insight into how and why EMDR therapy works. It highlights the brain’s natural healing capabilities and helps clients and experienced therapists work together to address and reprocess traumatic memories.


  1. Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures. Guilford Press.
  2. Solomon, R. M., & Shapiro, F. (2008). EMDR and the Adaptive Information Processing Model: Potential Mechanisms of Change. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(4), 315-325.
  3. Leeds, A. M. (2009). A Guide to the Standard EMDR Protocols for Clinicians, Supervisors, and Consultants. Springer Publishing Company.
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision