This article reviews the literature on EMDR treatment of somatic complaints and describes the application of Shapiro’s Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model in the treatment of phantom limb pain. The case study explores the use of EMDR with a 38-year-old man experiencing severe phantom limb pain 3 years after the loss of his leg and part of his pelvis in an accident. Despite treatment at several rehabilitation and pain centers during the 3 years, and the use of opiate medication, he continued to experience persistent pain. After 9 EMDR treatment sessions, the patient’s phantom limb pain was completely ablated, and he was taken off medication. Effects were maintained at 18-month follow-up. The clinical implications of this application of EMDR are explored.
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- Go to article: EMDR and Phantom Limb Pain: Theoretical Implications, Case Study, and Treatment Guidelines
Greenwald: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has already been defined by at least one EMDR-focused professional association as inextricably based on Shapiro’s (2001) eight-phase protocol and adaptive information processing (AIP) model. This commentary argues that given the lack of data supporting an exclusive preference for Shapiro’s constructs, EMDR’s definition should not preclude legitimate alternative conceptualizations. Since definitions may be used for many inclusive and exclusive purposes with impact on EMDR’s development, dissemination, practice, and reputation, EMDR’s definition should be reconsidered. Shapiro: Greenwald’s arguments and suggested redefinition are examined in relation to EMDR research, theory and practice. As evaluated in numerous studies, EMDR is a distinct, eight-phase integrative psychotherapy approach that consists of numerous procedures and protocols, which were formulated and are conducted in accordance with the principles of the AIP model. Research and published clinical case reports have validated both its utility and predictions of positive treatment outcomes with a variety of populations. Professional implications are explored.