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Open Access Psychophysiological Studies of EMDR

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Abstract:

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has been established as an efficacious therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The working mechanism of the procedure is, however, still partly unknown. It is therefore important to explore the physiological effects of eye movements and alternative bilateral stimulation. This article describes our research on the effects of eye movements during authentic EMDR sessions of chronic PTSD in refugees with war and torture experiences and places this research in the context of other findings. The findings point to defi nite physiological effects of eye movements; namely a dearousal with increased fi nger temperature and changes in the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic autonomous nervous systems.

Keywords: EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING; FINGER TEMPERATURE; HEART RATE VARIABILITY; POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER; PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1933-3196.2.4.282

Publication date: November 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • 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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