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Open Access EMDR and the Anxiety Disorders: Exploring the Current Status

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Based on the assumptions of Shapiro's adaptive information-processing model, it could be argued that a large proportion of people suffering from an anxiety disorder would benefit from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This article provides an overview of the current empirical evidence on the application of EMDR for the anxiety disorders spectrum other than posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Reviewing the existing literature, it is disappointing to find that 20 years after its introduction, support for the efficacy of EMDR for other conditions than PTSD is still scarce. Randomized outcome research is limited to panic disorder with agoraphobia and spider phobia. The results suggest that EMDR is generally more effective than no-treatment control conditions or nonspecific interventions but less effective than existing evidence-based (i.e., exposure-based) interventions. However, since these studies were based on incomplete protocols and limited treatment courses, questions about the relative efficacy of EMDR for the treatment of anxiety disorders remain largely unanswered.

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Keywords: ANXIETY DISORDERS; EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING (EMDR); PANIC DISORDER; SPECIFIC PHOBIA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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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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