Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)]

Scientific Rating:
1
Well-Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)] has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Trauma Treatment (Adult).

Target Population: Adults who have experienced trauma and may experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-traumatic stress, phobias, and other mental health disorders

Brief Description

EMDR therapy is an 8-phase psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the symptoms of trauma. During the EMDR trauma processing phases, guided by standardized procedures, the client attends to emotionally disturbing material in brief sequential doses that include the client’s beliefs, emotions, and body sensations associated with the traumatic event while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus. Therapist directed bilateral eye movements are the most commonly used external stimulus, but a variety of other stimuli including hand-tapping and audio bilateral stimulation are often used. EMDR is also highlighted on the CEBC website in the Trauma Treatment - Client-Level Interventions (Child & Adolescent) topic area, click here to go to that entry.

Program Goals:

The overall goals of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adults)] are:

  • Target the past events that trigger disturbance
  • Target the current situations that trigger disturbance
  • Determine the skills and education needed for future functioning
  • Reduce subjective distress
  • Strengthen positive beliefs
  • Eliminate negative physical responses
  • Promote learning and integration so that the trauma memory is changed to a source of resilience

Essential Components

The essential components of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adults)] include:

  • EMDR therapy is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which is based on the theory that symptoms arise from maladaptively stored memories that include the thoughts, beliefs, emotions, body sensations, and behavioral responses that were experienced at the time of the traumatic event.
  • Using standardized procedures, EMDR therapy accesses the stored memories, activates the brain’s information system and, through reprocessing, helps move the disturbing information to adaptive resolution. As an integrative psychotherapy driven by AIP theory, EMDR incorporates and is compatible with elements of diverse treatment interventions.
  • EMDR therapy addresses past events, present disturbance, and future needs. Guided by the theoretical underpinnings of AIP, a therapeutic relationship is established, the client is comprehensively assessed and prepared for processing. Based upon the AIP case conceptualization, focused target assessment and memory reprocessing are conducted throughout the complete eight-phases of EMDR therapy. Therefore, even though some elements of the goals and objectives of the phases of EMDR may be evident in other treatment modalities, it is the aggregate of the theory, case conceptualization, and accurate implementation of this integrative psychotherapy that truly defines EMDR therapy.
  • EMDR therapy consists of 8 phases of treatment with specific goals and objectives for completion of each phase:
    • The first phase is Client History and Treatment Planning during which the therapist assesses the clinical landscape, evaluates the client's readiness for memory processing, and develops a treatment plan.
    • Afterwards, during the Preparation Phase the therapist ensures that the client has adequate methods of handling emotional distress including self-soothing and calming skills, and that the client is in a relatively stable state. If further stabilization is required, or if additional skills are needed, therapy focuses on developing these needed skills for continuing with trauma reprocessing. During this phase, the therapist also reviews informed consent to assess for any forensic issues.
    • In phases three through seven, a target memory is identified with the client identifying the image that represents the worst part of the disturbing event, the negative cognition associated with the image and a positive cognition (PC) that the client would like to believe instead. The PC is then measured on the Validity of Cognition (VoC) Scale of 1-7 with 1 being completely false and 7 being completely true. Once the clinician has assessed the client’s current feelings about the VoC, the client is asked to identify the emotions associated with the target. The disturbance associated with the emotions is then measured on a Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) ranging from 0 being no disturbance to 10 being the most disturbing. Then the client is asked to identify where s/he feels any disturbing body sensations when focusing on the target. After the client is guided through these series of questions, s/he is then asked to hold together the image and the negative cognition along with the body sensations and the therapist starts sets of bilateral stimulation. Using standardized procedures the entire memory is addressed during the Desensitization Phase of EMDR therapy until the disturbance is assessed by the client to be a SUDS rating of zero. Although eye movements are the most commonly used external form of bilateral stimulation, therapists may also use auditory or tactile stimulation.
    • During reprocessing, the client is instructed to just notice whatever happens during the bilateral stimulation. The clinician then instructs the client to let his/her mind go blank and to notice whatever thought, feeling, image, memory, or sensation comes to mind. Depending upon the client's report, the clinician will facilitate the next focus of attention and restart bilateral stimulation. In most cases, a client-directed association process is encouraged. Client-directed association refers to following what the client reports after doing the eye movements. This is repeated numerous times throughout the session. If the client becomes distressed or has difficulty with the process, the therapist follows established procedures to help the client resume reprocessing.
    • When the client reports no distress related to the targeted memory, the clinician asks him/her to think of the preferred PC that was identified at the beginning of the session, or a better one if it has emerged, and to focus on the incident, while simultaneously engaging in the eye movements. Then the client is asked to identify and focus on any residual disturbing body sensations and these are processed.
    • In phase seven, closure, the therapist reminds the client of the self-soothing and calming skills and to note any targets, images, cognitions, emotions, and/or sensations (TICES) that arise between sessions, and then to report these to the therapist at the next session.
    • In phase eight, re-evaluation of the previous work, and of progress since the previous session, takes place.
  • EMDR treatment ensures processing of all related historical events, current incidents that elicit distress and future scenarios that will require different responses. Re-evaluation continues through each session as targets are reprocessed and the treatment plan is followed toward discharge planning.

Adult Services

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)] directly provides services to adults (regardless of whether they are parents or caregivers) and addresses the following:

  • Experienced trauma and may experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-traumatic stress, phobias, and other mental health disorders.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Residential Care Facility

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Languages

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)] has materials available in languages other than English:

Danish, Dutch, Flemish, French, German, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Office space to conduct treatment.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Qualifying individual providers must be either fully licensed mental health professionals or be enrolled in a Master's or Doctorate level program in the mental health field (Social Work, Counseling, Marriage Family Therapy, Psychology, Psychiatry, or Psychiatric Nursing) currently involved in the practicum and/or internship portion of the program they are enrolled in (first year students not eligible), and on a licensing track working under the supervision of a fully licensed mental health professional.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
  • Robbie Dunton
    EMDR Institute
    www.emdr.com
    phone: (831) 761-1040
Training is obtained:

Commercial trainings are held throughout the country. Nonprofit trainings are often onsite.

Number of days/hours:

The basic training consists of two 3-day training modules. In addition, 10 hours of case consultation are required to learn to implement the protocol.

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

Additional qualified trainers are listed on the following webpage: www.emdria.org

Implementation Information

Since Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)] is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)] as listed below:

EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs (HAP, Trauma Recovery Program) has a letter of inquiry sent out to nonprofit agencies to assess the nature of the agency (i.e., population, number of licensed clinicians, etc.). It is available by sending an email to cmartin@emdrhap.org.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)] as listed below:

Both the EMDR Institute and EMDR HAP (Trauma Recovery) have a formal process for implementation of the trainings. Both organizations have staff to assist with the implementation.

Fidelity Measures

The program representative did not provide information about fidelity measures of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)].

Implementation Guides or Manuals

The program representative did not provide information about implementation guides or manuals for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)].

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)].

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The program must have at least two rigorous randomized controlled trials with one showing a sustained effect of at least 1 year. The article(s) below that reports outcomes from an RCT showing a sustained effect of at least 1 year has an asterisk (*) at the beginning of its entry. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

A meta-analysis, see citation following, has also been conducted on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) though this article is not used for rating and therefore is not summarized:

  • Lee, C.W. & Cuijpers, P. (2013). A meta-analysis of the contribution of eye movements in processing emotional memories. Journal of Behavior Therapy & Experimental Psychiatry, 44, 231-239.

When more than 10 research articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals, the CEBC reviews all of the articles as part of the rating process and identifies the 10 most relevant articles, with a focus on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled studies that have an impact on the rating. The 10 articles chosen for EMDR are summarized below:

Carlson, J., Chemtob, C. M., Rusnak, K., Hedlund, N. L, & Muraoka, M. Y. (1998). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Treatment for combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11, 3-24.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 35

Population:

  • Age — 44.8-48 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 19 White and 16 Non-White
  • Gender — 100% Male
  • Status — Participants were combat veterans diagnosed with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Location/Institution: Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Honolulu

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This article describes the effectiveness of two psychotherapeutic interventions for PTSD. Participants were treated with either (a) 12 sessions of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), (b) 12 sessions of biofeedback-assisted relaxation, or (c) routine clinical care, serving as a control. Measures utilized include the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale, (CAPS-1), the Mississippi Scale for Combat Related PTSD, the Impact of Event Scale, (IES), the PTSD Symptoms Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Results indicate that compared with the other conditions, significant treatment effects in the EMDR condition were obtained at posttreatment on a number of self-report, psychometric, and standardized interview measures. Relative to the other treatment group, these effects were generally maintained at follow-up. Limitations include possible detection bias due to the fact that CAPS-1 interviewers were not blind to treatment condition, sample size and generalizability to other populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 and 9 months.

Ironson, G. I., Freund, B., Strauss, J. L., & Williams, J. (2002). Comparison of two treatments for traumatic stress: A community-based study of EMDR and prolonged exposure. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 113-128.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 22

Population:

  • Age — 16-62 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — A mixture of Caucasians, African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, Hispanics, and one Syrian
  • Gender — 17 Females and 5 Males
  • Status — Participants were rape and crime victims from a university-based clinic that serves the outside community.

Location/Institution: University of Miami

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study compared the efficacy of two treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Prolonged Exposure (PE). Measures utilized include the PTSD Symptom Scale (PSS-SR), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Dissociative Experience Scale (DES), the Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale (SUDS), and the Validity of Cognition Scale (VOC). Results showed both approaches produced a significant reduction in PTSD and depression symptoms and successful treatment was faster with EMDR after three active sessions. Results also concluded that patients who remained in treatment with PE also had a reduction in PTSD scores. Limitations include detection bias due to the fact that the assessors who administered the measures were not blinded to treatment conditions, sample size and generalizability to other populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

Lee, C., Gavriel, H., Drummond, P., Richards, J., & Greenwald, R. (2002). Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A comparison of stress inoculation training with Prolonged Exposure and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 1071-1089.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 24

Population:

  • Age — Mean=35.3 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 13 Male and 11 Female
  • Status — Participants were individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Location/Institution: Clinical psychology section of a large general hospital

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study compared the effectiveness of Stress Inoculation Training with Prolonged Exposure Therapy (SITPE) to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Measures utilized include the Davidson’s Structured Interview for PTSD (SI-PTSD), Keane’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Scale from the Minnesota Muliphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-K), Impact of Events Scale (IES), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Results indicated that on global PTSD measures, there were no significant differences between the treatments at the end of therapy; however, on the subscale on the degree of intrusion symptoms, EMDR did significantly better than SITPE. Limitations include detection bias due to the assessor that administered the measures were not blinded to, nor independent from, the therapist, sample size and generalizability to other populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

*Power, K., McGoldrick, T., Brown, K., Buchanan, R., Sharp, D., Swanson, V., & Karatzias, A. (2002). A controlled comparison of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing versus exposure plus cognitive restructuring, versus waiting list in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 9, 299-318.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 105

Population:

  • Age — EMDR: Mean=38.6 years, E+CR: Mean=43.2 years, WAIT: Mean=36.5 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 42% Female
  • Status — Participants were patients with PTSD referred by general practitioners and psychiatrists within central Scotland.

Location/Institution: Scotland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examines patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients were randomized to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), exposure plus cognitive restructuring (E + CR), or a waiting list (WL) in a primary care setting. Measures utilized include the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the Impact of Events Scale (IOE) and a self-report version of the SI-PTSD Checklist, the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and the Sheehan Disability Scale. Results indicate there were significant and substantial pre–post reductions for EMDR and E+CR groups but no change for the WL patients. Both treatments were effective over WL. The only indication of superiority of either active treatment, in relation to measures of clinically significant change, was a greater reduction in patient self-reported depression ratings and improved social functioning for EMDR. Limitations include attrition bias due to the high dropout rate and bias due to the fact that the assessors who administered the measures were not blinded to treatment conditions.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 15 months (E + CR and EMDR groups only).

Taylor, S., Thordarson, D. S., Maxfield, L., Fedoroff, I. C., Lovell, K., & Ogrodniczuk, J. (2003). Comparative efficacy, speed, and adverse effects of three PTSD treatments: Exposure therapy, EMDR, and relaxation training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 330-338.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 60

Population:

  • Age — Mean=36 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 77% Caucasian
  • Gender — 75% Female
  • Status — Participants were individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recruited from physician referrals and from advertisements in the local media.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study examined the efficacy, speed, and incidence of symptom worsening for subjects randomized to 3 treatments of PTSD: Prolonged Exposure, relaxation training, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Measures utilized include Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-IV), the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the PTSD Symptom Severity Scale, which is part of the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Reactions to Treatment Questionnaire. Results indicate that compared with EMDR and relaxation training, exposure therapy (a) produced significantly larger reductions in avoidance and reexperiencing symptoms, (b) tended to be faster at reducing avoidance, and (c) tended to yield a greater proportion of participants who no longer met criteria for PTSD after treatment. EMDR and relaxation did not differ from one another in speed or efficacy. Limitations include small sample size and concerns about generalizability beyond severe, chronic PTSD.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 4 months.

*Edmond, T., & Rubin, A. (2004). Assessing the long-term effects of EMDR: Results from an 18-month follow up study with adult female survivors of CSA. Journal of Childhood Sexual Abuse, 13, 69–86.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 42

Population:

  • Age — 18-51 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 83% Caucasian, 5% African American, 2% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% mixed ethnicity, and 2% other
  • Gender — 100% Female
  • Status — Participants were female survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Location/Institution: Central Texas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study describes the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants were assigned to one of three groups: (1) individual Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment (six sessions); (2) routine individual treatment (six sessions); or (3) delayed treatment control group. Measures utilized include the Impact of Event Scale (IES), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Belief Inventory (BI), and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Results indicate that the therapeutic gains demonstrated by those who received EMDR treatment were maintained 18 months posttreatment. The EMDR group was found to have not only maintained their therapeutic gains, but also to have actually improved slightly on every standardized measures, while the control group’s scores on the outcomes measures deteriorated somewhat. Limitations include small sample size and generalizability to other populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 18 months.

Marcus, S., Marquis, P., & Sakai, C. (2004). Three- and 6-month follow-up of EMDR treatment of PTSD in an HMO setting. International Journal of Stress Management, 11, 195-208.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 44

Population:

  • Age — 18-73 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 66% Caucasian, 13% African American, 12% Latino, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Native American/Alaskan Native, and 4% other
  • Gender — 53 Women
  • Status — Participants were individuals that belong to an HMO and suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Location/Institution: Kaiser Permanente

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This article reports on the 3- and 6-month follow-up data from individuals who were assigned to either Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment or standard care (SC) treatment for PTSD. Measures utilized include the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD), the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), Impact of Events Scale (IES), the Modified PTSD (MPTSD) Scale, the Global Severity Index (GSI), Positive Symptom Distress subscale (PSD), and the Dissociative Interview Schedule (DIS). Results indicates that significantly greater improvements found with EMDR were maintained on measures of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and general symptoms. Results also indicate that a relatively small number of EMDR treatment sessions result in substantial benefits that are maintained over time. Limitations include detection bias due to the fact that the assessors who administered the measures were not blinded to treatment conditions, sample size, and generalizability to other populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 and 6 months.

Rothbaum, B. O., Astin, M. C., & Marsteller, F. (2005). Prolonged exposure versus eye movement desensitization (EMDR) for PTSD rape victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 607-616.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 74

Population:

  • Age — Mean=33.8 years (of the 60 women who completed treatment)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 68.3% Caucasian (of the 60 women who completed treatment)
  • Gender — 100% Female
  • Status — Participants were female victims of a rape at least 3 months prior to study entry to allow for the natural decline in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Location/Institution: Not Specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This controlled study evaluated the relative efficacy of Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) compared to a no-treatment waitlist control (WAIT) in the treatment of PTSD in adult female rape victims. Subjects were randomized to one of the three groups. Measures utilized include Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disease (DSM-IV), the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the Assault Information Interview (AII), the Treatment, Legal, and Drug Update Interview (UPDATE), the Stressful Life Events Screening Questionnaire (SLESQ), the SCID Non-Patient Version, the PTSD Symptom Scale-Self-Report (PSS-SR), the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Dissociative Experiences Scale-II (DES-II), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Results indicate that improvement in PTSD (as assessed by blind independent assessors), depression, dissociation, and state anxiety was significantly greater in both the PE and EMDR group than the WAIT group at post-treatment. Limitations include small sample size and lack of a control group at the 6 month follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months (PE and EMDR groups only).

Van der Kolk, B., Spinazzola, J., Blaustein, M., Hopper, J., Hopper, E., Korn, D., & Simpson, W. (2007). A randomized clinical trial of EMDR, fluoxetine and pill placebo in the treatment of PTSD: Treatment effects and long-term maintenance. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68, 37-46.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 88

Population:

  • Age — 18-65 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 67.08% White
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study compared the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and pill placebo. Subjects were randomized to one of the three groups. Measures utilized include Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I and Axis II (SCID-I and SCID-II), the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Results indicate EMDR was more successful than SSRIs in achieving sustained reductions in PTSD and depression symptoms for adult onset trauma survivors. For most childhood-onset trauma patients, neither treatment produced complete symptom remission. Limitations include possible contamination of the placebo control group with exposure treatment through the weekly assessment process.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months.

Nijdam, M. J., Gersons, B. P. R, Reitsma, J. B., de Jongh, A., & Olff, M. (2012). Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy v. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: Randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 200, 224-231.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 140

Population:

  • Age — 18-75 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 73 Dutch, 18 Surinamese, 13 Turkish, 9 Moroccan, and 27 other
  • Gender — 39.5% Female
  • Status — Participants were civilian trauma survivors, who were referred by general practitioners, victim support workers, occupational physicians and other Academic Medical Centre departments.

Location/Institution: Centre for Psychological Trauma of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study compared the efficacy and response pattern of Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants were randomly assigned to either Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy or EMDR. Measures utilized include the Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R), the Structured Interview for PTSD (SI-PTSD), the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) was administered, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Results indicate that both treatments were equally effective in reducing PTSD symptom severity, but the response pattern indicated that EMDR led to a significantly sharper decline in PTSD symptoms than brief eclectic psychotherapy, with similar drop-out rates. Limitations include attrition bias, fluctuation in therapy sessions, and generalizability to other populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

References

No reference materials are currently available for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) [Trauma Treatment (Adult)].

Contact Information

Name: Robbie Dunton, MA
Agency/Affiliation: EMDR Institute
Website: www.emdr.com
Email:
Phone: (831) 761-1040
Fax: (831) 761-1204

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2014

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2013