The effects of EMDR therapy on traumatic memory, grief, and autonomic reaction in male-to-female interpersonal violence survivors
The study investigated the effectiveness eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to treat male-to-female interpersonal violence (IPV) survivors. A quantitative, quasi-experimental design evaluated 19 participants currently attending domestic violence group therapy. Subjects identified their worst traumatic experience with their abusive partner and the best aspect of being with their abusive partner. They were administered the Impact of Events Scale, the PCL-C, and screening for persistent grief criterion modified for IPV survivors. The traumatic memory was assessed using negative cognition, disturbance rating, and validity of positive cognition using standard EMDR protocol. The positive aspect of the abusive relationship was assessed using the Level of Positive Affect in a specialized EMDR protocol. Autonomic nervous system responses using heart rate variability were assessed via HeartMath’s EmWave device using a 5-minute resting, six-breath, and traumatic memory recall protocol. Six, 1-hour sessions of individual EMDR were administered. The pre- and post-EMDR data were analyzed using paired-sample t tests. Results showed statistically significant improvements in all assessments except resting and six-breath HRV. Additional research should include increasing the sample size to cross-correlate descriptive characteristics, and conducting the same study with women receiving group support only. The implications of this research offer the idea of adding individual EMDR therapy to domestic violence recovery should be strongly considered. The integration of EMDR therapy appears to process unresolved trauma, idealized aspects of abusive relationships, and facilitates appropriate grief processes, which may shorten the duration of the treatment and recovery process for this population.
Original Work Citation
Beckman, S. R. (2013). The effects of EMDR therapy on traumatic memory, grief, and autonomic reaction in male-to-female interpersonal violence survivors. (Dissertation, Argosy University)
“The effects of EMDR therapy on traumatic memory, grief, and autonomic reaction in male-to-female interpersonal violence survivors,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 28, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24576.