EMDR in the treatment of chronic pain



Chronic pain presents a persistent and significant clinical challenge. Research examining commonly used psychotherapeutic treatments suggests that the results are not always well maintained, and that pain often is unrelieved. Continued exploration of new and more effective approaches is necessary. This article outlines an application of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), developed to improve coping and reduce chronic pain and suffering. The effectiveness of the EMDR Chronic Pain Protocol was investigated with three adult chronic pain sufferers. Intervention effectiveness was measured at baseline, during, and postintervention, with a two-month follow-up. All clients reported substantially decreased pain levels, decreased negative affect, and increased ability to control their pain following treatment. These results indicate that EMDR may be efficacious in the treatment of chronic pain and that further research is warranted. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 58: 1505–1520, 2002.