Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of rape survivors


In the context of managed care, effective short-term treatment has become a priority for psychologists. This is particularly true for the recalcitrant symptoms of PTSD which are often associated with protracted treatment and disappointing outcome.This study investigated the efficacy of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a short-term treatment for PTSD. The independent variable, EMDR, was introduced sequentially in a multiple baseline design across subjects. 5 survivors of rape who met DSM-III-R criteria for PTSD received 4 to 6 weekly sessions of EMDR provided by five licensed psychotherapists with Level 2 EMDR training. Treatment outcomes included (a) large reductions in symptomatology evident in self-monitored data and objective measures, (b) replication of treatment effect in 5 out of 5 subjects, (c) qualitative and behavior change data which corroborate treatment effect, and (d) analyses which demonstrate the clinical significance of the changes, as well as the statistical significance of the differences between pretreatment and follow-up scores (with a confidence level of .05 or beyond). The study suggests that EMDR is very effective for treating long-term, recalcitrant symptoms of PTSD which have not resolved with time or previous therapy. The study provides a methodological model for calibrating treatment and developing accountability for treatment efficacy which can be applied across treatments and settings.






Judith Kathryn Lindsay

Original Work Citation

Lindsay, J. K. (1995, August). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of rape survivors. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 56(2-B), 1113



“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of rape survivors,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 28, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17568.

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