Unanswered questions about the empirical support for EMDR in the treatment of PTSD: A review of research
A literature review was conducted to examine whether EMDR should be considered an empirically-supported treatment for PTSD. Relying largely but not exclusively on electronic data bases such as Medline and PsycInfo, journal articles published through April 2003 were identified which reported a randomized experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of EMDR in treating PTSD. EMDR appears to be an empirically supported treatment for adults with single-trauma civilian PTSD. However, the evidence supporting the effectiveness of EMDR is much less compelling when we focus on children, combat PTSD, multiple-trauma PTSD, and whether EMDR is more effective than exposure therapies. Proponents of EMDR hotly debate proponents of exposure therapy regarding methodological issues, with each side in the debate frequently employing a double standard. Clinicians are advised to use either EMDR, exposure therapy, or stress-inoculation therapy when treating civilian adults with single-trauma PTSD. They may also want to employ EMDR when treating children with PTSD or clients with multiple-trauma or chronic PTSD. But if they do, they should do so in light of the inadequate evidence base, be guided by future evaluations of EMDR with these populations, and recognize that many more sessions of EMDR, with less robust effects, may be required than what they might currently expect.
Original Work Citation
Rubin, A. (2003, March). Unanswered questions about the empirical support for EMDR in the treatment of PTSD: A review of research. Traumatology, 9(1), 4-30. doi:10.1177/153476560300900102
“Unanswered questions about the empirical support for EMDR in the treatment of PTSD: A review of research,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 14, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17405.