EMDR and the anxiety disorders: Exploring the current status


Based on the assumptions of Shapiro's adaptive information-processing model, it could be argued that a large proportion of people suffering from an anxiety disorder would benefit from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This article provides an overview of the current empirical evidence on the application of EMDR for the anxiety disorders spectrum other than posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Reviewing the existing literature, it is disappointing to find that 20 years after its introduction, support for the efficacy of EMDR for other conditions than PTSD is still scarce. Randomized outcome research is limited to panic disorder with agoraphobia and spider phobia. The results suggest that EMDR is generally more effective than no-treatment control conditions or nonspecific interventions but less effective than existing evidence-based (i.e., exposure-based) interventions. However, since these studies were based on incomplete protocols and limited treatment courses, questions about the relative efficacy of EMDR for the treatment of anxiety disorders remain largely unanswered.






Ad de Jongh
Erik ten Broeke

Original Work Citation

de Jongh, A., & ten Broeke, E. (2009). EMDR and the anxiety disorders: Exploring the current status. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 3(3), 133-140. doi:10.1891/1933-3196.3.3.133



“EMDR and the anxiety disorders: Exploring the current status,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 20, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19109.

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