EMDR Research News December 2015

This month there are 5 new articles related to EMDR therapy. Two English language journal articles are available with open access for immediate download.

video of the month is “EMDR: The unconventional therapy treating PTSD with the wave of a finger.” This seven minute video from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation November 20, 2015 by Reporter Lauren Day, features an interview with EMDR Australia trainer Graham Taylor and one of his patients, whose medical first responder husband had committed suicide.

With each reference below, you will find the citation, abstract and author contact information (when available). Prior quarterly summaries of journal articles can be found on the
EMDRIA website and a comprehensive listing of all EMDR-related research is available at the Francine Shapiro Library. EMDRIA members can access recent Journal of EMDR Practice and Research articles in the member’s area on the EMDRIA website. JEMDR issues older than 12 months are available open access on IngentaConnect.


Video of the month

video of the month is “EMDR: The unconventional therapy treating PTSD with the wave of a finger.” This seven minute video is from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation November 20, 2015 by Reporter Lauren Day. It features an interview with EMDR Australia trainer Graham Taylor and one of his patients, whose medical first responder husband had committed suicide.

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Journal Articles


Ait Aoudia, M. (2015). The assessment of psychological, social and legal implications before undertaking EMDR [L’évaluation des conséquences psychologiques, sociales et judiciaires avant d’entreprendre une thérapie EMDR].
European Psychiatry, 30(8), S95-S96. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2015.09.405

M. Ait Aoudia, Centre du psychotrauma, institut de Victimologie, Paris, France. Email: aitaoudiam@gmail.com


Late revelations of sexual abuse and their psychological, social and legal consequences are often experienced by victims as a particularly significant existential test, which will register a "before" and "after" in their life trajectory. Indeed, late revelations result in a marked break in the psychological balance, family, social and professional. Their occurrence, spontaneous or provoked may cause the victim to a psycho crisis, when the sudden resurgence of the past will invade this, day and night, with flashbacks, nightmares, bodily sensations, dissociative symptoms derealization and depersonalization. Faced with these symptoms, the person will face phases where it will attempt to handle the situation by avoidance strategies, including the apparent effectiveness is limited and temporary, and those where it will face the internal and external changes, with a sense of personal efficacy altered, a fear of going mad, a sense of failure face of aggression after so many years, a loss of hope for the future. In these contexts, the care psychotraumatologique requires a specific and comprehensive evaluation including the psychological dimensions, family, social and professional and judicial, which will determine the strategy and therapeutic targets. We propose to discuss in this paper, with clinical illustrations, the specifics of the joints between assessments and treatment with EMDR case of late revelations of sexual abuse.


Majidzadeh, A., & Sediq, S. H. (2015). Study descriptive static of desensitization technic efficiency with eye movement and reprocessed of cancer patient depression stress.
International Science and Investigation Journal, 4(6), 11-17.

Full text:

Afsoon Majidzadeh, Department of Psychology, Bandar Abbas Branch, Islamic Azad University, Bandar Abbas, Iran. Email: entesharat.ban@gmail.com


This research conducted with respect to subject identity and purpose is one test study with pre- test and post- test plan in 2 group. This survey society included all cancer patient referred to Shafa-Parto clinic in Ardebil city during survey. The results showed that eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy reduced depression in cancer patients treated by radiation. Congenital sensitivity of eye movement and reprocessing therapy reduces stress cancer patients treated by radiation. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy reduces anxiety in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Also this method decreased depression, stress, anxiety and state anxiety cancer patients.


Mikhailova, E. (2015). Application of EMDR in the treatment of older people with a history of psychical trauma.
European Psychiatry, 30(S1), 851-. doi:10.1016/S0924-9338(15)30664-7

E. Mikhailova, Rehabilitation Center, Smolensk Regional Hospital for War Veterans, Smolensk, Russia



There are many studies supporting the efficacy of trauma focused EMDR in the treatment of PTSD and other anxiety disorders. But most of them included only people younger than 70 years. Older people often suffer from intellectual decline. Been proved that EMDR is effective in people with intellectual impairment (Mevissen. L et all, 2012), but the people who participated in these studies did not relate to the older age group.


Old people are often faced with loss, death of a spouse, friends, relatives. Inaddition, the known so-called 'domino effect' when a new trauma can reactivate old traumatic experiences, and the fact that older people inrelation to the characteristics of their memory can suddenly reactivate traumatic experiences related to the events of their youth.


Explore the possibility of using EMDR in the treatment of elderly people with a history of psychological trauma.


The study involved 26 women aged 70-85 years who received treatment in the in-patient department of our hospital. They had cognitive impairment from mild to moderate (for MoCA-test) and a history of psychological trauma. The Doctor used bilateral stimulation (mainly tapping) and 8-phase EMDR protocol, developed by F. Shapiro.


All patients showed a decrease anxiety, improve sleep, and decrease in the number of somatic complaints.


EMDR is highly effective in the elderly.


Pagani, M., Di Lorenzo, G., Monaco, L., Daverio, A., Giannoudas, I., La Porta, P., . . . Siracusano, A. (2015). Neurobiological response to EMDR therapy in clients with different psychological traumas.
Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1614. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01614

Full text:

Marco Pagani, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Rome, Italy. Email: marco.pagani@istc.cnr.it


We assessed cortical activation differences in real-time upon exposure to traumatic memory between two distinct groups of psychologically traumatized clients also in comparison with healthy controls. We used electroencephalography (EEG) to compare neuronal activation throughout the bilateral stimulation phase of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) sessions. We compared activation between the first (T0) and the last (T1) session, the latter performed after processing the index trauma. The group including all clients showed significantly higher cortical activity in orbito-frontal cortex at T0 shifting at T1 toward posterior associative regions. However, the subgroup of clients with chronic exposure to the traumatic event showed a cortical firing at both stages which was closer to that of controls. For the first time EEG monitoring enabled to disclose neurobiological differences between groups of clients with different trauma histories during the reliving of the traumatic event. Cortical activations in clients chronically exposed to traumatic memories were moderate, suggesting an association between social and environmental contexts with the neurobiological response to trauma exposure and psychotherapy.


van den Berg, D. P., de Bont, P. A., van der Vleugel, B. M., de Roos, C., de Jongh, A., van Minnen, A., & van der Gaag, M. (2015). Trauma-Focused treatment in PTSD patients with psychosis: Symptom exacerbation, adverse events, and revictimization.
Schizophrenia Bulletin. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbv172

David P. G. van den Berg, Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, Zoutkeetsingel 40, 2512 HN Den Haag, The Netherlands. Email: d.vandenberg@parnassia.nl


OBJECTIVES: Most clinicians refrain from trauma treatment for patients with psychosis because they fear symptom exacerbation and relapse. This study examined the negative side effects of trauma-focused (TF) treatment in patients with psychosis and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

METHODS: Analyses were conducted on data from a single-blind randomized controlled trial comparing TF treatment (N = 108; 8 sessions prolonged exposure or eye movement desensitization) and waiting list (WL; N = 47) among patients with a lifetime psychotic disorder and current chronic PTSD. Symptom exacerbation, adverse events, and revictimization were assessed posttreatment and at 6-month follow-up. Also investigated were symptom exacerbation after initiation of TF treatment and the relationship between symptom exacerbation and dropout.

RESULTS: Any symptom exacerbation (PTSD, paranoia, or depression) tended to occur more frequently in the WL condition. After the first TF treatment session, PTSD symptom exacerbation was uncommon. There was no increase of hallucinations, dissociation, or suicidality during the first 2 sessions. Paranoia decreased significantly during this period. Dropout was not associated with symptom exacerbation. Compared with the WL condition, fewer persons in the TF treatment condition reported an adverse event (OR = 0.48, P = .032). Surprisingly, participants receiving TF treatment were significantly less likely to be revictimized (OR = 0.40, P = .035).

CONCLUSIONS: In these participants, TF treatment did not result in symptom exacerbation or adverse events. Moreover, TF treatment was associated with significantly less exacerbation, less adverse events, and reduced revictimization compared with the WL condition. This suggests that conventional TF treatment protocols can be safely used in patients with psychosis without negative side effects.