Evid Based Mental Health 5:13 doi:10.1136/ebmh.5.1.13
  • Therapeutics

Review: eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing is not better than exposure therapies for anxiety or trauma

 QUESTION: Is eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) effective for trauma or anxiety? Do the presence of eye movements, therapist training, or disorder influence effectiveness?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching PsycINFO and Medline (1988 to April 2000) and Current Contents (1997 to March 2000) and by scanning reference lists.

Study selection

Published studies were selected if they reported a clear unconfounded examination of the effect of EMDR in treatment experiments. Articles given only at conferences were excluded.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on the intervention, type of control, type of population, type of measure, and outcomes. Median effect sizes were calculated; only data collected immediately after treatment were used.

Main results

34 studies were included (33 randomised controlled trials). Studies were categorised according to type of outcome measure or comparison. Outcome categories were psychometric measures of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other psychometric measures, physiological measures, behavioural measures (including behavioural avoidance), and …