Exploring change mechanisms in EMDR applied to “small-t trauma” in Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: Research questions and speculations



This article represents a process of preliminary search and discovery regarding the active mechanisms in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) when used in Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (STDP). Patients' (N = 7) responses to EMDR interventions were categorized as either “trauma” or “resolution” responses and examined in relationship to (a) the number of EMDR sets, (b) patient Global Assessment of Functioning Rating (GAF) scores, and (c) raw change in Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) ratings of severity of traumatic memory and Validity of Cognition (VoC) ratings of positive cognitions before and after EMDR sessions. Further subcategorization and development of the broad categories of trauma and resolution were recommended and may be useful in shedding light on how change happens in EMDR. This study was exploratory and attempted only to identify possible variables for further study. However, the results show potential relationships among variables that merit further refinement and study. Research questions generated from this study are discussed. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 58: 1531–1544, 2002.