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bibliography*The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Davidson 2001.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): a meta-analysis

updated


Tags: treatment, mind, random

PainSci summary of Davidson 2001?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★★☆?4-star ratings are for bigger/better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a popular therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. This meta-analysis of 31 trials of EMDR had a completely negative conclusion: “EMDR appears to be no more effective than other exposure techniques, and evidence suggests that the eye movements integral to the treatment, and to its name, are unnecessary.” In other words, the eye movement that defines EMDR does not appear to be an “active ingredient.” It’s just exposure therapy with an irrelevant, implausible idea about eye movement bolted on to it.

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a controversial treatment suggested for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other conditions, was evaluated in a meta-analysis of 34 studies that examined EMDR with a variety of populations and measures. Process and outcome measures were examined separately. and EMDR showed an effect on both when compared with no treatment and with therapies not using exposure to anxiety-provoking stimuli and in pre post EMDR comparisons. However, no significant effect was found when EMDR was compared with other exposure techniques. No incremental effect of eye movements was noted when EMDR was compared with the same procedure without them. R. J. DeRubeis and P. Crits-Christoph (1998) noted that EMDR is a potentially effective treatment for noncombat PTSD, but studies that examined such patient groups did not give clear support to this. In sum, EMDR appears to be no more effective than other exposure techniques, and evidence suggests that the eye movements integral to the treatment, and to its name, are unnecessary.

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: