De-stress: A qualitative investigation of EMDR treatment


There is no qualitative knowledge of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) with a sub-clinical stressed population. The vast majority of EMDR research has focused on traumatized populations, leaving a significant gap in what the non-traumatized or sub-clinically stressed clients experience. Sub-clinical stress includes any level of stress that does not meet the DSM-IV-TR criteria for PTSD. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the lived experiences of body sensations, emotions, beliefs, and imagery during EMDR treatment of participants with sub-clinical stress. Participants fit into either a young adult (18-35), adult (36-49), or older adult (50-60) maturity category and did not meet the criteria for PTSD. The sample consisted of 12 participants, from a large metropolitan area in the Northeastern United States. A qualitative phenomenological design was used to gather data following the EMDRIAs treatment protocol including a final interview asking questions about what the participants experienced in their body, thoughts, emotions, and memory images. The data was analyzed using constant comparative techniques using open coding and will be verified with member check techniques. The results identify five thematic holistic experiences across the participants. The themes of responsibility, safety, choices, power, and value emerged from the data. The results imply that is may be necessary to address all 5 themes for effective stress resolution. Also, the scholarly, clinical, and practical understanding of the Adaptive Information Processing Model concepts of responsibility, safety, and choices manifest in participants lived sensory experiences are now expanded and in need of additional research.






Earl Stewart-Grey

Original Work Citation

Stewart-Grey, E. (2009). De-stress: A qualitative investigation of EMDR treatment. (Dissertation, Capella University)



“De-stress: A qualitative investigation of EMDR treatment,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 28, 2020,

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