Integration of EMDR with other therapeutic approaches: A survey investigation


The present study examined assimilative integration, i.e., when techniques from various therapeutic approaches are imported into a single, consistent theoretical framework. Specifically, the aim of this study was to investigate how Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a manualized therapeutic approach originally developed as a treatment for traumatic memories, is incorporated into clinical practice. In assimilative integration, elements of the EMDR protocol would be expected to be conceptualized and possibly modified in ways that are consistent with the therapist's theoretical framework. A survey design, using web-based questionnaires, was implemented to gather information from therapists who use EMDR. Therapists responded to a broad range of questions regarding their theoretical orientation, involvement in EMDR organizations, and practice of EMDR. A large sample (N = 532) was obtained, and results demonstrated that most therapists integrated EMDR with other therapeutic methods. Further, there was some evidence that therapists were practicing assimilative integration. Specifically, therapists typically added methods consistent with their primary theoretical orientation and conceptualized the effective elements of EMDR as those that were most consistent with their orientation. Most therapists reported using most of the elements of the EMDR protocol, perhaps reflecting the high level of interest in EMDR among therapists in the sample. However, there were some differences related to therapists' level of commitment to EMDR. For example, members of the EMDR International Association used more elements of the protocol and were more likely to report that they did not combine other methods with EMDR when compared to nonmembers. The diagnosis of the client was also an important factor in how EMDR was integrated into treatment. For example, therapists treating clients with PTSD were more likely to report on their use of EMDR as the primary therapeutic approach and to integrate cognitive/behavioral methods than were those treating clients with other disorders. This study was among the first to examine the process of assimilative integration. The findings show that psychotherapy integration varies by therapists' base theoretical orientation, client factors, and therapists' commitment to the treatment method being integrated.






Kristina E. Lyhus

Original Work Citation

Lyhus, K. E. (2003, April). Integration of EMDR with other therapeutic approaches: A survey investigation. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B. Sciences and Engineering, 63(10), 4912



“Integration of EMDR with other therapeutic approaches: A survey investigation,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 24, 2020,

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