Internet-based CBT and EMDR for posttraumatic stress disorder: The results from two trials


Objectives: Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe, distressing, and chronic condition. Limited availability of appropriately trained professionals is a significant barrier to accessing appropriate treatment. This presentation reports the results of two pilot studies: (i) a pilot RCT of Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); (ii) an open trial of Internetbased eye movement desensitzation and reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD. RCT: Internet-delivered CBT Methods: 43 people with PTSD were randomly allocated to receive clinician-assisted Internet-based treatment for PTSD, or to a waitlist control condition. Participants in the clinician-assisted version received access to the 7-lesson PTSD program plus regular emails from a clinician, automatic reminder emails, and access to an online discussion forum. Results: Participants reported significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, depression and anxiety (Cohen’s d respectively: 1.3, 1.2 and 0.7). Furthermore, participant satisfaction with the treatment program was high. Conclusions: PTSD is a disabling disorder, but access to treatment is limited for many people. Developing addditional effective techniques for treating patients with PTSD is an important priority for mental health clinicians. OPEN TRIAL: Internet-delivered EMDR Methods: This trial is due to commence in March, 2011 and will run for 8 weeks. It involves 15 people with PTSD allocated to receive internet-based EMDR in addition to the existing internetbased CBT protocol used in the above RCT. To our knowledge, this is the first time that EMDR has been delivered via the internet or tested despite EMDR being recommended as a first-line intervention for PTSD by several treatment guidelines for PTSD [1, 2]. We expect that clinically significant improvements will be observed and that participants will rate the EMDR module as acceptable.






Jay M. Spence
Luke Johnston

Original Work Citation

Spence, J. M., & Johnston, L. (2011, August-September). Internet-based CBT and EMDR for posttraumatic stress disorder: The results from two trials. Presentation at the 41st EABCT annual conference, Reykjavk, Iceland



“Internet-based CBT and EMDR for posttraumatic stress disorder: The results from two trials,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2021,

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