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Open Access EMDR Treatment of Distressful Experiences That Fail to Meet the Criteria for PTSD

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Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is thought to successfully treat not only posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but also other psychiatric disorders and mental health problems inasmuch as these have experiential contributions. This randomized clinical trial investigated the effects of treatment of distressful experiences (or small “t” trauma) that fail to meet the criteria for PTSD. Three hours of a slightly adapted form of EMDR were compared to active listening (attentional placebo, also 3 hours) and wait list. Results with 90 participants showed that EMDR produced significantly lower scores on the Impact of Event Scale than active listening or wait list. EMDR also resulted in a significantly smaller increase on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (State subscale) after memory recall. Some limitations and implications of findings are discussed.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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