Open Access Omissions and Errors in the Institute of Medicine's Report on Scientific Evidence of Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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A recently released report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2008) commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs examined the evidence for psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It concluded that the evidence was inadequate to determine the efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of PTSD. However, a critical examination of the basis for this conclusion reveals errors in three areas. First, the findings of key studies that reported positive outcomes for EMDR were misrepresented; second, a number of positive studies were excluded without apparent justification; and, finally, the IOM report failed to consider additional readily available studies that also reported benefits for EMDR. These factors appear to explain why the conclusions of the IOM report are at odds with the numerous meta-analyses and practice guidelines of PTSD treatments issued by other scientific committees worldwide.


Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: February 1, 2009

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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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