Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in adults with serious mental illness within forensic and rehabilitation services: A study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Description

Background:
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidenced-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Forensic mental health services provide assessment and treatment of people with mental illness and a history of criminal offending, or those who are at risk of offending. Forensic mental health services include high, medium, and low-security inpatient settings as well as prison in-reach and community outpatient services. There is a high prevalence of PTSD in forensic settings and posttraumatic experiences can arise in people who violently offend in the context of serious mental illness (SMI). Successful treatment of PTSD may reduce the risk of relapse and improve clinical outcomes for this population. This study aims to assess the efficacy, risk of harm, and acceptability of EMDR within forensic and rehabilitation mental health services, as compared to treatment as usual (routine care).

Methods:
This is a single-blind, randomized controlled trial comparing EMDR therapy to the waiting list (routine care). Adult forensic mental health service users (n = 46) with SMI and meeting the criteria for PTSD will be included in the study. Participants will be randomized after baseline assessment to either treatment as usual plus waiting list for EMDR or to treatment as usual plus EMDR. The EMDR condition comprises nine sessions, around 60 min in length delivered weekly, the first of which is a case conceptualization session. The primary outcomes are clinician and participant-rated symptoms of PTSD, and adverse events. Secondary outcomes include psychotic symptoms, social functioning, level of disability, self-esteem, depressive symptoms, post-trauma cognitions, and broad domains of complex posttraumatic difficulties. A trained assessor blinded to the treatment condition will assess outcomes at baseline, 10 weeks, and 6 months. Additionally, grounded theory qualitative methods will be used to explore participant experience of EMDR for a subset of participants.

Discussion:
This study will contribute to the currently limited evidence base for EMDR for PTSD in forensic settings. It is the first randomized clinical trial to assess the efficacy, risk of harm, and acceptability of EMDR for PTSD in people with SMI in either forensic, mental health inpatient, or custodial settings.

Trial Registration:
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Network, ACTRN12618000683235. Registered prospectively on 24 April 2018.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Susanna Every-Palmer
Tom Flewett
Shaystah Dean
Oliver Hansby
Atalie Colman
Mark Weatherall
Elliot Bell

Original Work Citation

Citation

“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in adults with serious mental illness within forensic and rehabilitation services: A study protocol for a randomized controlled trial,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 28, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/26215.

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