What is the research evidence for EMDR?

Several controlled studies (Carlson et al, 1998; Marcus, Marquis, & Sakai, 1997; Rothbaum, 1997; Scheck, Schaeffer, & Gillette, 1998; Wilson, Becker, & Tinker, 1995; Wilson, Becker, & Tinker, 1997) have since been conducted, and results indicate that EMDR is a valid treatment for civilian PTSD. As part of the survey conducted by the American Psychological Association Division 12 Task Force that reviewed psychotherapies and their effectiveness, Chambless and her colleagues (1998) recently placed EMDR on a list of "probably efficacious treatments" as an intervention for civilian PTSD. This designation specifies interventions which were "beneficial for patients or clients in well-controlled treatment studies" (p.3).

A meta-analysis (Van Etten & Taylor, 1998) looking at 59 studies of PTSD treatments indicated that EMDR and behavior therapy were both effective for reducing the symptoms of PTSD. EMDR treatment time was shorter than for behavior therapy (5 vs. 15 hours). Other controlled studies have shown that EMDR is effective in treating phobias (de Jongh & ten Broeke, 1998; de Jongh, ten Broeke, & Renssen, 1999), in reducing stress in law enforcement employees (Wilson, Logan, Becker, and Tinker, 1999), and helping reduce the distress experienced by traumatized children (Chemtob, Nakashima, Hamada, & Carlson, in press; Greenwald, 1994; Puffer, Greenwald, & Elrod, 1998).

Please use this link for the most up to date EMDR research            http://www.emdr.com/research-overview/


Carlson, J.G., Chemtob, C.M., Rusnak, K., Hedlund, N.L., & Muraoka, M.Y. (1998). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11(1), 3-24.

Chambless, D.L., Baker, M.J., Baucom, D.H., Beutler, L.E., Calhoun, K.S., Crits-Christoph, P., Daiuto, A., DeRubeis, R., Detweiler, J., Haaga, D.A.F., Johnson, S.B., McCurry, S., Mueser, K.T., Pope, K.S., Sanderson, W.C., Shoham, V., Stickle, T., Williams, D.A., & Woody, S.R. (1998). Update on empirically validated treatments II. The Clinical Psychologist, 51(1), 3-16.

Chemtob, C.M., Nakashima, J., Hamada, R., & Carlson, J.G. (in press). Brief treatment for elementary school children with disaster-related PTSD: A field study. Journal of Clinical Psychology.

De Jongh, A., & ten Broeke, E. (1998). Treatment of choking phobia by targeting traumatic memories with EMDR: a case study. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 5, 264-269.

De Jongh, A., & ten Broeke, E. & Renssen, M.R. (1999). Treatment of specific phobias with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): Research, protocol, and application, Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 13, 69-85.

Greenwald, R. (1994). Applying eye movement desensitization and reprocessing in the treatment of traumatized children: Five case studies. Anxiety Disorders Practice Journal, 1, 83-97.

Marcus, S.V., Marquis, P., & Sakai, C. (1997). Controlled study of treatment of PTSD using EMDR in an HMO setting. Psychotherapy, 34(4), 307-315.

Puffer, M.K., Greenwald, R., & Elrod, D.E. (1998). A single session EMDR study with twenty traumatized children and adolescents. Traumatology, 3(2). 

Rothbaum, B.O. (1977). A controlled study of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for posttraumatic stress disordered sexual assault victims. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 61, 317-334.

Scheck, M.M., Schaeffer, J.A., & Gillette, C.S. (1998). Brief psychological intervention with traumatized young women: The efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11, 25-44.

Shapiro, F. (1995). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. New York: Guilford.

Wilson, S.A., Becker, L.A., & Tinker, R.H. (1995). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment for psychologically traumatized individuals. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 928-937.

Wilson, S.A., Becker, L.A., & Tinker, R.H. (1997). Fifteen-month follow-up of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder and psychological trauma. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 1047-1056.

Wilson, S.A., Logan, C., Becker, L.A., & Tinker, R.H. (1999, June). EMDR as a stress management tool for police officers. Paper presented to the annual conference of the EMDR International Association, Las Vegas, Nevada.


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