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Open Access The Effect of Single-Session Modified EMDR on Acute Stress Syndromes

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A single session of a modified, abridged EMDR protocol was provided in a general hospital inpatient and outpatient setting to 86 patients with acute stress (AS) syndrome suffering from intrusion distress following accidents and terrorist bombing attacks. Fifty percent reported immediate fading of intrusive symptoms and general alleviation of distress, 27% described partial alleviation of their symptoms and distress, while 23% reported no improvement. Partial and nonresponders were provided with or referred for more comprehensive treatment. At 4-week and 6-month follow-up, the immediate responders in the terror victims group remained symptom free. The immediate responders tended to have uncomplicated AS symptoms with fewer risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while the nonresponders had higher exposure to former traumas and endorsed more risk factors for PTSD. These results support other anecdotal reports on the rapid effects of brief EMDR intervention on intrusive symptoms in early uncomplicated posttraumatic cases. Although more controlled studies are essential, this immediate method for symptomatic relief may be a potential addition for focused interventions in acute trauma victims.


Document Type: Case Report


Publication date: August 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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