EMDR and depression


Severe depression is one of the most common mental disorders and affects between 15-20 % of the general population in their lifetimes. Although many psychotherapeutic and pharmacologic interventions exist that are considered to be effective in depression, the treatment results are often less than satisfactory. High relapse rates (ranging at 50% after two years), unsatisfactory remissions and suicidal risks are among the major problems. EMDR is internationally recognized as one of the most effective tools to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (WHO 2013). More and more studies now show that stressful life events play a major role also in depressive disorders. Therefore, EMDR comes more and more into focus as a new intervention tool in the treatment of depressive disorders.

Our European EDEN study group has conducted research on the subject since 2007, published 4 controlled studies (two of them RCTs) and treated at least 400 depressive patients using our EMDR-DeprEnd manual. The studies and our cases show that EMDR is at least equal to CBT treatment in depression but seems to result in a higher number of complete remissions than other interventions. EMDR may also lead to a decreased risk of relapses, as an incomplete remission increases the risk of relapse 5 times.

In the workshop the evidence will be presented and our treatment manual (DeprEndr protocol) will be introduced.






Arne Hofmann
Maria Lehnung

Original Work Citation

Hofmann, A., & Lehnung, M. (2019, June). EMDR and depression. Presentation at the 20th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Krakow, Poland




“EMDR and depression,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 28, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/25686.

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