The relative efficacy of trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy and EMDR in treating psychological trauma resulting from road traffic accidents

Description

Objectives: Following road traffic accidents (RTAs) psychological problems are common and can cause long-term disability. Whilst both trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) have proved successful in treating such problems there is currently no clear evidence supporting one treatment over the other. Previous comparisons of these treatments have been based on small samples. The present research aimed to explore the relative efficacy of CBT and EMDR in treating psychological trauma resulting from RTAs in a large sample.

Design: Patients who had previously been involved in an RTA were referred to a psychological rehabilitation provider and received treatment with either CBT or EMDR by accredited therapists. The treatments were compared on drop-out rate number of sessions required for completion of treatment therapist rating of success and a number of widely used psychometric measures which were administered at assessment and again at the end of treatment.

Methods: A total of 1179 referrals were made of which 435 met the inclusion criteria and proceeded to treatment. These patients presented with a range of psychological trauma symptoms resulting from RTAs which had occurred an average of 21 months previously. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was diagnosed in 51 per cent of patients with the remaining patients presenting with travel anxiety depression general anxiety and other psychological conditions. Outcomes were assessed in the whole sample and separately for those with a diagnosis of PTSD.

Results: No differences emerged between the treatments on any outcome measure both for patients diagnosed with PTSD and for those with other trauma-related symptoms. Both CBT and EMDR resulted in large improvements in self-rated symptoms as assessed using the psychometric measures and in both groups over 80 per cent of cases were rated by the therapist as successful or having made good progress by the end of treatment. The CBT group required an average of 9.1 sessions and the EMDR group required an average of 9.9 sessions. Reliable change indices showed that over 80 per cent of patients made clinically significant improvements in both treatment groups.

Conclusions: In conclusion both CBT and EMDR proved to be effective treatments for psychological trauma resulting from RTAs but no differences emerged between them in terms of efficacy patient compliance and number of sessions required. Psychological trauma following RTAs is eminently treatable in the community when treatment is offered by trained CBT or EMDR therapists.

Format

Conference

Language

English

Author(s)

Manda Holmshaw
K. I. Hodder
J. WIlson Carswell

Original Work Citation

Holmshaw, M., Hodder, K. I., & Carswell, J. W. (2009, April). The relative efficacy of trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy and EMDR in treating psychological trauma resulting from road traffic accidents. Presentation at the annual British Psychological Society Conference, Brighton, UK

Collection

Citation

“The relative efficacy of trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy and EMDR in treating psychological trauma resulting from road traffic accidents,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 28, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19955.

Output Formats