EMDR therapy and psycho-oncology


Cancer is not only a debilitating disease; it can also have devastating effects on a patient's mental health and quality of life. Although the literature shows that mortality rates may be improved with the provision of effective treatment, most psychotherapy provided to patients with cancer tends to be quite generic and not always effective. Very few research studies have investigated the provision of trauma-focused therapies to this underserved population. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has well-established efficacy in the treatment of traumatic stress and preliminary evidence in the treatment of depression and anxiety. It is a very effective and accessible treatment for patients with cancer. Because it does not require homework, it is less demanding than many other forms of treatment. It can be provided on an intensive (twice) daily basis, making it available to patients traveling from out of town for their cancer treatment. For those patients unable to manage trauma-focused treatment during a difficult time, it can be used to enhance personal resources. EMDR therapy can be administered in individual, group, and couple formats and is suitable for children as well as adults. New research provides promising results for the application of EMDR for patients with cancer.






Louise Maxfield

Original Work Citation

Maxfield, L. (2016). EMDR therapy and psycho-oncology. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(3), 135-137. doi:10.1891/1933-3196.10.3.135



“EMDR therapy and psycho-oncology,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 27, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24032.

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