A huge loss – Dr Francine Shapiro, founder of EMDR, has passed away

Francine Shapiro

We are saddened to learn of the death of Dr Francine Shapiro in the United States.


Dr Shapiro originated and developed Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a first line treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as recommended in the Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.


Dr Shapiro was a Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, Executive Director of the EMDR Institute in Watsonville, CA, and founder and President Emeritus of the Trauma Recovery EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs, a non-profit organisation that coordinates disaster response and low fee trainings worldwide.


She wrote and co-authored more than 60 journal articles, chapters, and books about EMDR.


She received a number of awards for her seminal work, including the International Sigmund Freud Award for Psychotherapy of the City of Vienna, and the American Psychological Association Trauma Psychology Division Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice in Trauma Psychology.


Recently, Dr Shapiro was a member of the ISTSS Guidelines Committee which recently presented the New ISTSS Prevention and Treatment Guidelines, which recommends EMDR, along with trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy, as a first line treatment for adults and children with PTSD.


Phoenix Australia’s Director, Professor David Forbes was Vice-Chair of the committee, and says that, “We are deeply saddened at this news. With EMDR, Dr Shapiro has made a profound contribution to the field of traumatic stress, and indeed to the lives of many, many sufferers of PTSD.”