This brief narrative review begins with an overview of posttraumatic response and explains the value of early treatment in reducing/eliminating symptoms of distress and possibly preventing the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other disorders. The article then summarizes the efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy as an early intervention treatment. It outlines the historical context of EMDR early interventions and describes the three protocols which have research support from randomized controlled trials (RCTs), elaborating on their supportive evidence in seven RCTs conducted within 3 months of the traumatic event. These studies showed that EMDR early interventions significantly reduced symptoms of traumatic stress and prevented any exacerbation of symptoms. EMDR was superior to wait-list and to control conditions of critical incident stress debriefing, reassurance therapy, and supportive counseling. The article also examines the disparate evaluations of EMDR early interventions in the PTSD treatment guidelines, from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the World Health Organization, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Despite promising clinical experience and initial controlled studies, there are still substantive gaps in the evidence base for EMDR early interventions. The article concludes with recommendations for future research, emphasizing that future trials adhere to the highest standards for clinical research and that they investigate whether EMDR early intervention prevents the development of PTSD or increases resilience.
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While eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is considered an evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults, there are differences as to how various international treatment guidelines judge the strength of this evidence base. Furthermore, in areas other than adult PTSD, major guidelines differ even more as to the strength of the evidence base and when to use EMDR. In 2019, the Council of Scholars: The Future of EMDR Therapy Project was initiated. Several working groups were established, with one assigned to the focus area of research. This article is a product of that working group. Firstly the group concluded that there were five areas where there was some base that EMDR was effective, but more data were needed to increase the likelihood that it would be considered in future international treatment guidelines. These areas were PTSD in children and adolescents, early EMDR interventions, combat PTSD, unipolar depression, and chronic pain. In addition, research into cost-effectiveness of EMDR therapy was identified as one of the priorities. A hierarchical system was used for classifying and rating evidence in the focus areas. After assessing the 120 outcome studies pertaining to the focus areas, we conclude that for two of the areas (i.e., PTSD in children and adolescents and EMDR early interventions research) the strength of the evidence is rated at the highest level, whereas the other areas obtain the second highest level. Some general recommendations for improving the quality of future research on the effectiveness of EMDR therapy are formulated.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Scripted Protocols: Basics and Special Situations
Scripting is a way to inform and remind the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner of the component parts, sequence, and language used to create an effective outcome. As EMDR is a fairly complicated process, this book provides step-by-step scripts that will enable beginning practitioners to enhance their expertise more quickly. The book is separated into nine parts. The Client History part represents the first of the eight phases of EMDR treatment. The ability to gather, formulate, and then use the material in the intake part of treatment is crucial to an optimal outcome in any therapist’s work. Part II includes an important element of the Preparation Phase that addresses ways to introduce and explain EMDR, trauma, and the adaptive information processing (AIP) model. The importance of teaching clients how to create personal resources is the topic of Part III. Here, an essential element of the Preparation/Second Phase of EMDR work is addressed to ensure clients’ abilities to contain their affect and remain stable as they move through the EMDR process. Part IV shows how to work with clients concerning the targeting of their presenting problems when the usual ways do not work such as usage of drawings to concretize clients’ conceptualization of their issues and usage of an alternative initial targeting method. Part V includes protocols that have been scripted based on the material that appears in Francine Shapiro’s EMDR textbook. Parts VI and VII address EMDR and early intervention procedures for man-made and natural catastrophes for individuals and groups. Performance enhancement and clinician’s self-care are dealt with in the final two parts of the book.
This chapter serves as a one-stop resource where therapists can access a wide range of word-for-word scripted protocols for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practice. The rationale behind the creation of “The Four Elements Exercise for Stress Management” is to address the cumulative effect of external and internal triggers that occur over the course of the day. The heart of the exercise consists of four, brief, self-calming and self-control activities. The idea is to take a quick reading of the current stress level using the simple 0 to 10 subjective units of disturbance scale (SUD scale) where 10 = the most stress and 0 = no stress at all. This can occur every time clients observe their bracelets. Working on the Safe Place separately during the session gives it more space and impact. It is then practiced with the bracelet reminder frequently, together with the other elements.
This chapter serves as a one-stop resource where therapists can access a wide range of word-for-word scripted protocols for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practice, including the past, present, and future templates. These scripts are conveniently outlined in an easy-to-use, manual style template for therapists, allowing them to have a reliable, consistent form and procedure when using EMDR with clients. The rationale for creating the Resource Map consists of a structured format and record of the resources that have been identified and installed that can be collected and used again in the future. It also consists of multiple resources that empower the client and Level of Connection (LoC) scale, which is designed to overcome the limitations of trying to guess if the installation is working from qualitative signals. It is inspired by the validity of cognition (VoC) and attempts to better gauge progress in nonverbal domains.
In 2015, more than 1.5 million refugees arrived in Germany, many severely traumatized. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for acute and chronic traumatic stress symptoms. A modification for provision in group settings was developed by E. Shapiro: the EMDR Group Traumatic Episode Protocol (G-TEP). In this field study, we investigated the effectiveness of 2 sessions of EMDR G-TEP in treating traumatized refugees. After receiving a psychoeducation session, 18 Arabic-speaking refugees from Syria and Iraq who had come to Germany during the previous 5 months were assigned to treatment and/or waitlist. The Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were administered at pre- and posttreatment. Analysis was conducted using the Mann–Whitney U test and planned Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests. Results showed significant differences between the treatment and the waitlist groups, indicating a significant decline in IES-R scores (p < .05). Although differences in BDI scores did not reach significance (p = .06), a large decline in BDI scores was seen in the treatment group. These results provide preliminary evidence that it might be effective to treat groups of traumatized refugees with EMDR G-TEP.
The Clinical column is a regular Journal of EMDR Practice and Research feature in which master clinicians answer a question posed by a reader who is requesting assistance with clinical challenges. In this issue’s column, the response is written by Elan Shapiro, who is a psychologist near Haifa, Israel; an EMDR institute facilitator; and an approved EMDR Europe consultant. Readers can send questions for future issues to [email protected]
Les Questions & réponses cliniques sont une rubrique régulière du Journal of EMDR Practice and Research dans laquelle des cliniciens chevronnés répondent à la question posée par un lecteur face à une difficulté clinique. Dans ce numéro, la réponse provient d’Elan Shapiro, un psychologue près de Haïfa en Israël, facilitateur de l’EMDR Institute et superviseur EMDR Europe accrédité. Les lecteurs peuvent adresser leurs questions à [email protected]
- Go to article: Early EMDR Intervention Following a Community Critical Incident: A Randomized Clinical Trial
The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of early eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) intervention using the EMDR recent traumatic episode protocol (R-TEP) after a traumatic community event whereby a missile hit a building in a crowded area of a town. In a waitlist/delayed treatment parallel-group randomized controlled trial, 17 survivors with posttraumatic distress were treated with EMDR therapy using the R-TEP protocol. Volunteer EMDR practitioners conducted treatment on 2 consecutive days. Participants were randomly allocated to either immediate or waitlist/delayed treatment conditions. Assessments with Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) brief depression inventory took place at pre- and posttreatment and at 3 months follow-up. At 1 week posttreatment, the scores of the immediate treatment group were significantly improved on the IES-R compared to the waitlist/delayed treatment group, who showed no improvement prior to their treatment. At 3 months follow-up, results on the IES-R were maintained and there was a significant improvement on PHQ-9 scores. This pilot study provides preliminary evidence, supporting the efficacy of EMDR R-TEP for reducing posttrauma stress among civilian victims of hostility, and shows that this model of intervention briefly augmenting local mental health services following large-scale traumatic incidents, using an EMDR intervention on 2 consecutive days may be effective.
- Go to article: Early EMDR Intervention (EEI): A Summary, a Theoretical Model, and the Recent Traumatic Episode Protocol (R-TEP)
Early EMDR Intervention (EEI): A Summary, a Theoretical Model, and the Recent Traumatic Episode Protocol (R-TEP)
This article examines existing early EMDR intervention (EEI) procedures, presents a conceptual model, and proposes a new comprehensive protocol: the Recent-Traumatic Episode protocol (R-TEP). A review of research and important professional issues regarding application and parameters are presented. The commonly used EEI protocols and procedures are summarized, with the inclusion of descriptive case examples from the Lebanon war and a review of related research. Then a theoretical model is presented in which traumatic information processing is conceptualized as expanding from a narrow focus on the sensory image (perceptual level) to a wider focus on the event/episode (experiential level) and finally to a broad focus on the theme/identity (meaning level). The relationship of this model to the Recent-Traumatic Episode protocol is articulated and case examples are presented. Theoretical speculations are discussed relating to attention regulation and the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model. Further research is encouraged.