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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


Address correspondence to Rika Feske, Anxiety Disorders Program, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.


A qualitative review of experimental and quasi-experimental outcome studies of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment for persons with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggests that the treatment is effective for civilian but not combat PTSD. The current data indicate that additional research into EMDR's efficacy for PTSD is warranted. Further studies should include comparisons to placebo control procedures and existing validated treatments for PTSD, an adequate treatment dose, systematic efforts to establish and assess treatment integrity and quality, and long-term follow-up data. The therapeutic mechanisms underlying EMDR's observed benefits remain elusive. Whether the eye movement or some other type of stimulation is essential to EMDR's effects cannot be determined from the current data.