EMDR: Tones inferior to eye movements in the EMDR treatment of PTSD
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During EMDR, patients make eye movements (EMs) while recalling traumatic memories, but recently therapists have replaced EMs by alternating beep tones. There are no outcome studies on the effects of tones. In an earlier analogue study, tones were inferior to EMs in the reduction of vividness of aversive memories. In a first EMDR session, 12 PTSD patients recalled trauma memories in three conditions: recall only, recall + tones, and recall + EMs. Three competing hypotheses were tested: 1) EMs are as effective as tones and better than recall only, 2) EMs are better than tones and tones are as effective as recall only, and 3) EMs are better than tones and tones are better than recall only. The order of conditions was balanced, each condition was delivered twice, and decline in memory vividness and emotionality served as outcome measures. The data strongly support hypothesis 2 and 3 over 1: EMs outperformed tones while it remained unclear if tones add to recall only. The findings add to earlier considerations and earlier analogue findings suggesting that EMs are superior to tones and that replacing the former by the latter was premature.
Original Work Citation
van den Hout, M. A., Rijkeboer, M. M., Engelhard, I. M., Klugkist, I., Hornsveld, H., Toffolo, M. J. B., & Cath, D. C. (2012, May). EMDR: Tones inferior to eye movements in the EMDR treatment of PTSD. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50(5), 275-279. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2012.02.001
“EMDR: Tones inferior to eye movements in the EMDR treatment of PTSD,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/21321.