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Treating Addictions, Compulsions, & Urges with the EMDR DeTUR Protocol

There are numerous EMDR protocols crafted to fit clients' challenges and goals. One such protocol is the DeTUR (Desensitization of Triggers and Urge Reprocessing) Protocol. In this blog post, we'll delve into the DeTUR Protocol, exploring its principles, applications, and significance in the context of EMDR Therapy.

The DeTUR Protocol

The DeTUR Protocol, an extension of traditional EMDR therapy, was developed by A.J. Popky and Mark R. Nickerson to address issues related to triggers and urges. Triggers are stimuli that evoke emotional reactions or distressing memories, while urges represent the strong impulses or cravings associated with those triggers. The DeTUR Protocol focuses specifically on desensitizing these triggers and reprocessing the associated urges.

Key Components of the DeTUR Protocol

Identifying Triggers and Urges: The first step in the DeTUR Protocol involves identifying specific triggers and their associated urges. Clients work with their EMDR therapist to pinpoint the precise stimuli or situations that trigger distressing emotional responses.

Desensitization: Through the use of bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), the therapist guides the client in processing and desensitizing the emotional charge associated with the identified triggers. This helps reduce the intensity of emotional reactions when faced with triggering stimuli.

Urge Reprocessing: After desensitization, the focus shifts to reprocessing the urges linked to the triggers. Clients work on altering the maladaptive impulses associated with the triggers, promoting healthier and more adaptive responses.

Future Template: The DeTUR Protocol includes the creation of a "future template," wherein clients envision themselves responding adaptively to previously triggering situations. This mental rehearsal aids in reinforcing the positive changes achieved through the protocol.

What can the DeTUR Protocol help with?

The DeTUR Protocol is particularly beneficial in addressing issues related to addiction, compulsive behaviors, and other conditions where triggers and urges play a significant role. By specifically targeting these components, the protocol enhances the overall effectiveness of EMDR therapy in helping individuals break free from the cycle of maladaptive responses to triggering stimuli.


The DeTUR Protocol stands as a valuable addition to the toolkit of EMDR therapists, offering a targeted approach to address triggers and urges. As our understanding of trauma and its effects continues to evolve, innovative protocols like DeTUR contribute to the ongoing refinement of therapeutic interventions. For individuals navigating the complexities of trauma-related triggers and urges, the DeTUR Protocol may serve as a transformative step towards healing and recovery within the broader framework of EMDR therapy.

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