Cigna Healthcare Coverage Position: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing


Systematic reviews: Van Etten et al. (1998) conducted a meta-analysis of the literature regarding treatments for PTSD. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the relative efficacy of various treatments for PTSD. A total of 41 studies were included, that yielded sixty-one treatment outcome trials. Eleven studies were included that examined EMDR. The authors report that behavior therapy and EMDR were the most effective psychological therapies for PTSD, with the two being generally equally efficacious. The review noted that behavior therapy was significantly more effective than all treatments, on observer-rated total PTSD symptoms and no differences in comparative treatment efficacy were discernable between behavior therapy and EMDR across the specific symptom domains of PTSD. It was noted that effect sizes for these therapies were large relative to control conditions, indicating good treatment acceptance. It was also noted, however, that “despite its apparent efficacy, what works in EMDR and the mechanism for how it works remains unclear. That is, we know little about the active ingredients in EMDR and the mechanisms by which these ingredients result in decreased PTSD symptoms.” The literature is not conclusive regarding the role of eye-movement in this treatment.






CIGNA HealthCare

Original Work Citation

CIGNA HealthCar.e (2008, June 15). Cigna Healthcare Coverage Author



“Cigna Healthcare Coverage Position: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 25, 2020,

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