Efficacy of EMDR therapy on the pain intensity and subjective distress of cancer patients


The present study was carried out to investigate the efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in treating pain and subjective distress of patients with cancer. A randomized controlled trial was performed on patients with cancer suffering from moderate to severe cancer pain in Yasuj, Iran, in 2019 and 2020. Sixty patients aged 30–60 years who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were selected using a consensus sampling technique. Patients were randomly assigned to EMDR therapy or control groups based on random block allocation. EMDR therapy was administered in six to eight daily 1-hour sessions. The control group received the standard treatment provided by the hospital. A Numeric Pain-Rating Scale (NRS) and the Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale (SUDS) were used to assess pain and subjective distress before and after the intervention in each session. The collected data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, chi-square test, and independent t test using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24. The mean pain intensity and subjective distress score in the experimental group before and after the EMDR intervention were significantly reduced (p < .001). In the control group, no decreases in NRS and SUDS scores occurred at any time (p > .05). Differences in pain scores between the groups were statistically significant (p < .001). EMDR can effectively and sustainably reduce the pain and subjective distress experienced by patients with cancer. Thus, EMDR is a recommended therapeutic option to mitigate pain and subjective distress among patients with cancer






Naeem Abdi
Mohammad Malekzadeh
Zhila Fereidouni
Mohammad Behnammoghadam
Parisa Zaj
Mohammad Amin Mozaffari
Akbar Rostaminejad
Zaker Salehi

Original Work Citation

Abdi, N., Malekzadeh, M., Fereidouni, Z.Behnammoghadam, M., Zaj, P., Mozaffari, M. A., Rostaminejad, A., &Salehi, Z. (2021). Efficacy of EMDR therapy on the pain intensity and subjective distress of cancer patients. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 15(1), 18-28. doi: 10.1891/EMDR-D-20-00036



“Efficacy of EMDR therapy on the pain intensity and subjective distress of cancer patients,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed August 5, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/26744.

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