The Evidence For EMDR – An Interview With The Founder of EMDR – New York Times
Nine randomized studies have compared E.M.D.R. therapy with various forms of cognitive behavioral therapy containing exposure therapy, with or without the addition of cognitive therapy. Meta-analyses, which pooled data from all the studies, have reported comparable effects. In all but one of the individual studies, E.M.D.R. was equal or superior (on some measures) to cognitive behavioral therapy.
The Role of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – National Institutes of Health
A substantial amount of research indicates that adverse life experiences may be the basis for a wide range of psychological and physiologic symptoms. EMDR therapy research has shown that processing memories of such experiences results in the rapid amelioration of negative emotions, beliefs, and physical sensations. Reports have indicated potential applications for patients with stress-related disorders, as well as those suffering from a wide range of physical conditions.
EMDR and PTSD – Department of Veterans Affairs
EMDR can help you process upsetting memories, thoughts, and feelings related to the trauma. By processing these experiences, you can get relief from PTSD symptoms.
EEG findings of EMDR treatment have shown increases in amplitude (Grbesa et al., 2010), enhanced left hemispheric function (Pagani et al., 2011), as well as decreased limbic activation and enhanced cortical activation (Pagani et al., 2012). These findings are indicative of desensitization, and cortical inhibition of neural kindling.
ost recently, the World Health Organization (2013) has stated that trauma-focused CBT and EMDR are the only psychotherapies recommended for children, adolescents, and adults with PTSD. “Like CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive cognitions related to the traumatic event. Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve (a) detailed descriptions of the event, (b) direct challenging of beliefs, (c) extended exposure, or (d) homework.” (p.1)
As described previously, Carlson et al. (1998) reported that after twelve EMDR treatment sessions, 77.7% of the combat veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD. There were no dropouts and effects were maintained at 3- and 9-month follow-up. In addition, the Silver et al., (1995) analysis of an inpatient veterans’ PTSD program (n = 100) found EMDR to be superior to biofeedback and relaxation training on seven of eight measures.
In contrast, four EMDR studies11,12,13 have indicated an elimination of diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 77-90% of civilian participants after three to seven sessions (without homework). Studies using participants with PTSD14,15,16,17 have found significant decreases in a wide range of symptoms after two or three active treatment sessions. Treatment effects appear to be well maintained at follow-up assessments. For example, one study reported an 84% remission of PTSD diagnosis at 15 month follow-up18. Studies using waitlist controls found EMDR superior; studies comparing EMDR to commonly used treatments such as biofeedback relaxation19, active listening16, and various forms of individual therapy in a Kaiser Permanente HMO facility12 found EMDR superior to the control condition on measures of posttraumatic stress.