Trauma therapy's new focus; EMDR uses eye movements to ease patients' emotional distress. Skeptics suggest a placebo effect
Once employed mostly to treat severely traumatized patients, EMDR is now used for such common problems as depression, loneliness, fear of flying, claustrophobia and stage fright. Since it was first devised by California psychologist Francine Shapiro in 1987, more than 40,000 therapists in the United States and abroad have attended EMDR workshops, and an estimated 2 million patients have been treated with this technique, according to the EMDR Institute in Pacific Grove, Calif., which conducts training workshops in the technique. EMDR was first used on patients suffering from PTSD: Vietnam veterans; victims of rape, incest or child abuse; and survivors of natural disasters or traumatic events, like car accidents, earthquakes, the shootings at Columbine High School and the Oklahoma City bombing. And when terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, EMDR therapists traveled to Washington and New York to counsel survivors, victims' families, and rescue and recovery workers. In an often-cited study funded by Kaiser and published in the journal Psychotherapy in 1997, [Steven V. Marcus] randomly assigned 67 PTSD sufferers to either EMDR or standard treatment. At the end of three sessions, 50% of the EMDR participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD, compared to 20% receiving standard therapy. After treatment, 77% of the EMDR group no longer met the PTSD criteria, compared to 50% of those receiving standard therapy.
Original Work Citation
Marsa, L. (2002, March 25). Trauma therapy's new focus; EMDR uses eye movements to ease patients' emotional distress. Skeptics suggest a placebo effect. Los Angeles Times, S1
“Trauma therapy's new focus; EMDR uses eye movements to ease patients' emotional distress. Skeptics suggest a placebo effect,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 17, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/26118.