Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: A chronology of its development and scientific standing
The development of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has been hotly debated, with rhetoric often being posited as evidence either for or against the technique. This paper aims to provide a brief overview of the procedure, a critical review of the studies completed to date, a meta-analytic review of the available data, and a chronology of the evolution of EMDR over the past 10 years. Treatment-outcome studies were of such disparate quality-even studies meeting similar broad criteria-that combining their results in a meta-analysis was of very questionable value. Overall, an appraisal of the published research supported the following conclusions: (1) There is overwhelming evidence that eye movements are neither a necessary nor a useful addition to the procedure; (2) there is strong and consistent evidence that EMDR is better than no treatment, yet only as good as any other treatment that utilizes some aspect of exposure therapy; and (3) there is strong evidence that a full-exposure-based intervention package is superior to EMDR. There is also some evidence that "reprocessing" is likewise superfluous to EMDR and that the effects of EMDR dissipate over time. It is also concluded that the current debate cannot be entirely settled through scientific investigation due to the rapid and constant reshaping of what constitutes EMDR, the similarity to extant alternative methods, and the lack of a falsifiable theory underpinning the procedure.
Original Work Citation
Devilly, G. J. (2002, Fall-Winter). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: A chronology of its development and scientific standing. The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 1(2), 113-138
“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: A chronology of its development and scientific standing,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 5, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/18859.