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Open Access Early EMDR Intervention Following a Community Critical Incident: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of early eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) intervention using the EMDR recent traumatic episode protocol (R-TEP) after a traumatic community event whereby a missile hit a building in a crowded area of a town. In a waitlist/delayed treatment parallel-group randomized controlled trial, 17 survivors with posttraumatic distress were treated with EMDR therapy using the R-TEP protocol. Volunteer EMDR practitioners conducted treatment on 2 consecutive days. Participants were randomly allocated to either immediate or waitlist/delayed treatment conditions. Assessments with Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) brief depression inventory took place at pre- and posttreatment and at 3 months follow-up. At 1 week posttreatment, the scores of the immediate treatment group were significantly improved on the IES-R compared to the waitlist/delayed treatment group, who showed no improvement prior to their treatment. At 3 months follow-up, results on the IES-R were maintained and there was a significant improvement on PHQ-9 scores. This pilot study provides preliminary evidence, supporting the efficacy of EMDR R-TEP for reducing posttrauma stress among civilian victims of hostility, and shows that this model of intervention briefly augmenting local mental health services following large-scale traumatic incidents, using an EMDR intervention on 2 consecutive days may be effective.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2015

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