EMDR Therapy Research

EMDR therapy is now one of the most researched treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Shapiro pp. 379-402 and pp. 507-552). Other research on different types of traumas and EMDR therapy are currently being conducted to help support the efficacy of EMDR therapy. The following are research studies on subjects that will be discussed throughout the training,



Van der Kolk, B., Spinazzola, J., Blaustein, M., Hopper, J., Hopper E., Korn, D., & Simpson, W. (2007). A randomized clinical trial of EMDR, fluoxetine, and pill placebo in treating PTSD: Treatment effects and long-term maintenance. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68, 37-46.

  • EMDR was superior to both control groups and continued to improve over time.


Marcus, S., Marquis, P. & Sakai, C. (1997, 2004). A controlled study of treatment of PTSD using EMDR in an HMO seeing. Psychotherapy, 34, 307-315.

  • EMDR therapy – 100% of single-trauma and 77% of multiple trauma survivors were no longer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after six, 60-minute sessions.


Farina, B., Imperatori, C., Quintillani, M., Castelli Gattinara, P., Onofri, A., Leprore, M., Brunetti, R., Losurdo, A., Testani, E., Marca, G. (2015). Neurophysiological correlates of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing sessions: Preliminary evidence for traumatic memories integration. Clinical Physiology and functional imaging, 35 (6), 460-468.

  • Results suggest that EMDR integrates dissociated aspects of traumatic memories and, consequently, decreases hyperarousal symptoms.


Woo, M., (2014). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing treatment of nightmares: A case report. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 8 (3), 129-134.

  • Clinical reports indicate the rapid amelioration of nightmares.


Complex PTSD


Bisson, J., Roberts, N.P., Andrew, J., Cooper, R. & Lewis, C. (2013). Psychological therapies for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003388.pub4

  • Research indicates that CBT and EMDR Therapy are superior to all other treatments.


Chen, Y. R., Hung, K. W., Tsai, J. C., Chu, H., Chng, M.H., Chen, S.R. & Chou, K. R.  (2014). Efficacy of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing for patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PloS one, 9 (8). e103676.

  • A quantitative meta-analysis on the findings of 26 randomized controlled trials of EMDR therapy for PTSD published between 1991-2013 – confirmed that EMDR therapy significantly reduces the symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and subjective distress in PTSD patients.


Edmond, T., Sloan, L., & Rubin, A. (2004). Assessing the long-term effects of EMDR: Results from 18-month follow=up study with adult female survivors of CSA. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 13 (1), 69-86.

  • EMDR therapy reduced trauma symptoms.


Recent Events


Jarrero, I., Uribe, S., Artigas, L., & Givaudan, M. (2015). EMDR protocol for recent critical incidents: A randomized controlled trial in a technological disaster context. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 9, 166-173.

  • People witnessed the death of co-workers from an explosion – after two consecutive 60-minute EMDR sessions, the symptoms decreased significantly.


Shapiro, E., Laub, B. (2015). Early EMDR intervention following a community critical incident: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 9, 17-27.

  • EMDR therapy showed significant improvement in symptoms after a 3-month follow-up.


Tarquiio, C., Rotonda, C., Houlle, W. A., Montel, S., Rydberg, J.A., Minary, L. & Alla, F. (2016). Early psychological preventive intervention for workplace violence: A randomized controlled explorative and comparative study between EMDR-recent event and critical incident stress debriefing. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 37(1), 787-799.

  • EMDR therapy reduced PTSD symptoms after a 3-month follow-up.




Gauvreau, P., Bouchard, S. (2008). Preliminary evidence for the efficacy of EMDR in treating generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2 (1).

  • EMDR therapy significantly decreased excessive worry and anxiety.


Yunitri, N., Kao, C., Chu, H., Voss, J., Chiu, H., Liu, D., Shen, S., Chang, P., Kang, X., Chou, K. (2020). The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing toward anxiety derider: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 123, 1;02-113.

  • Seventeen trials of EMDR therapy were effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, panic, phobias, and behavioral/somatic symptoms.


Goldstein, A., Feske, U. (1994). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for panic disorder: A case series, Journal of Anxiety Disorder, 8 (4), 351-362.

  • EMDR therapy significantly decreased the frequency of panic attacks, fear of experiencing a panic attack, general anxiety, thoughts concerning negative consequences.




Gerhardt, A., Leisner, S., Hartmann, M., Janke, S., Seider, G., Eich, W. & Tesarz, J. (2016).  Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing vs. treatment as usual for non-specific chronic back pain patients with psychological trauma: A randomized controlled pilot. Front Psychiatry. Dec. 20;7:201. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00201. eCollection 2016.

  • EMDR is helpful for patients with chronic pain from previous experiences of psychological trauma, with benefits for pain intensity maintained over six months.


Jarrero, I., Givaudan, M., Osorio, A. (2018). A randomized controlled trial on providing the EMDR integrative group treatment protocol adapted for ongoing traumatic stress to female patients with cancer-related posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 12(3), 94-104.

  • EMDR therapy significantly reduced symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression


Mazzola, A., Calcagno, M. L., Goicochea, M. T., Pueyrredon, H., Leston, J., Slvat, F. (2009). EMDR in the treatment of chronic pain, 3 (2), 66 – 79.

  • EMDR therapy significantly reduced pain sensations, pain-related negative effects, and anxiety and depression levels.




Morozow, L. (2014). Evaluating the efficacy of eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) with grieving individuals: A randomized control trial. Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/21980.

  • EMDR therapy significantly decreased complicated grief symptoms.


Sprang, G. (2001). The use of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDRIO in treating traumatic stress and complicated mourning: Psychological and behavioral, Sage Journal, https://doi.org/10/1177/104973150101100302.

  • EMDR therapy significantly decreased PTSD symptoms


Solomon, R. M., Rando, T. A. (2012). Treatment of grief and mourning through EMDR: Conceptual considerations and clinical guidelines, European Review of Applied Psychology, 62 (4), 231-239.

  • Eight phases of EMDR to grief and mourning can yield potent clinical results in the aftermath of loss.




Jarrero, I., Roque-Lopz, S., & Gomez, J. (2013). The provision of EMDR-based multicomponent trauma treatment with child victims of severe interpersonal trauma. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 7 (1), 17-28.

  • Results showed significant improvement for all participants trauma symptoms


Dieble, J., Opmeer, B., Boer, F., Mannarino, A. & Lindauer, R. (2014). Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: What works in children with post-traumatic stress symptoms? A randomized controlled trial. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 1 – 10.

  • Forty-eight children (8-18 years) were randomly assigned to eight sessions of TF-CBT or EMDR. Both modalities are efficient in reducing PTSD in children.


Shapiro, F., Wesselman, D., & Mevissen, L. (2017). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). In M.A., Landolt, M., Cloitre, & U Schnyder (Eds.). Evidence-based treatment for trauma-related disorders in children and adolescents. New York: Springer.

  • EMDR therapy was compared to TF-CBT, and it was found that children required fewer sessions with EMDR.




Tapia, G., Perez-Dandieu, B., Lenoir, H., Othily, E., Gray, M. & Delile, J. (2017). Treating addiction with schema therapy and EMDR in women with co-occurring SUD and PTSD: A pilot study. Journal of Substance Abuse, 23 (2), 199-205.

  • EMDR therapy reduced PTSD symptoms and addiction severity, and depressive symptoms.


Kullack, C., Laugharne, J. (2016). Standard EMDR Protocol for alcohol and substance dependence comorbid with posttraumatic stress disorder: Four cases with 12 – month follow-up. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10 (1), 33 – 46.

  • EMDR therapy reduced alcohol and substance use.


Hase, M., Schallmayer, S., Sack, M. (2008).  EMDR reprocessing of the addiction memory: Pretreatment, posttreatment, and 1 -month follow-up, Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2 (3), 170- 179.

  • EMDR therapy reduced cravings.




Russell M., C., & Figley, C. R. (2013). Treating traumatic stress injuries in military personnel: An EMDR practitioner’s guide. New York: Routledge.

  • Positive results with those suffering from moral injuries in the military.


Hurley, E. (2016a). Treating military sexual trauma with EMDR therapy. In. L. Katz (Ed.), Treating military sexual trauma (pp. 155-175). New York: Springer.

  • Results suggest that EMDR led to positive outcomes.


Hurley, E. C. (2018). Effective treatment of veterans with PTSD: Comparison between intensive daily and weekly EMDR approaches. Frontiers in Psychology, 24, http://doi.org/10/3389//fpsyg.2018.01458

  • Results suggested that both methods of EMDR therapy were effective in decreasing symptoms.




Mbazzi, F.B., Dewailly, A., Admasu, K., Duagani, Y., Wamala, K., Vera, A., Bwesigye, D., Roth, G. (2021). Cultural Adaptations of the Standard EMDR Protocol in Five African Countries: Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 15 (1), 29-43.

  • Clinicians need to adapt the language of EMDR Standard protocol culturally.


Schubert, S. J., Lee, C.W., de Araujo, G., Butler, S.R., Taylor, G. & Drummond, P. (2016). The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to treat symptoms following trauma in Timor Leste. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 29(2), 141-148.

  • EMDR therapy decreased PTSD symptoms in a post-war, cross-cultural setting in four sessions.


Acarturk, C., Konuk, E., Cetinkaya, M., Senay, Il, Sijbrandij, M., Gulen, B., & Cuijpers, P. (2015). EMDR for Syrian refugees with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms: Results of a pilot randomized controlled trial., European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 6, 1, https://doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v6.27414.

  • EMDR therapy may be effective in reducing PTSD and depression symptoms among refugees.



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