Leone Centre Glossary

Memory networks in EMDR

Memory networks in EMDR

Memory networks in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) are central to the therapeutic process, helping individuals process and integrate traumatic memories. This definition provides an overview of what memory networks are, their role in EMDR, and their significance in therapeutic contexts.

About memory networks

Memory networks refer to interconnected webs of memories, emotions, and sensations stored in the brain. In EMDR, these networks are accessed and reprocessed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. Understanding these networks helps explain how EMDR facilitates healing by transforming the way traumatic memories are stored and recalled.

Therapeutic role

In EMDR, therapists guide clients to target specific memory networks related to traumatic experiences. By doing so, clients can process and integrate these memories, reducing their negative impact and promoting emotional well-being.

Process explanation

During EMDR sessions, bilateral stimulation (e.g., eye movements) is used to activate and reprocess memory networks. This process helps the brain reorganise and integrate traumatic memories, transforming them into more adaptive and less distressing forms.


What are memory networks?
Memory networks are interconnected groups of memories, emotions, and sensations stored in the brain, linked by common themes and experiences.
How do memory networks function in EMDR?
In EMDR, memory networks are accessed and reprocessed through bilateral stimulation, helping to integrate and transform traumatic memories into less distressing forms.
Why are memory networks important in EMDR therapy?
Memory networks are essential in EMDR as they help therapists and clients identify and target specific traumatic memories, facilitating processing and healing.


  1. Shapiro, F. (2018). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy: 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. Van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Viking.
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision