EMDR Research News October 2014

This month there are 5 new articles directly related to EMDR therapy. Three of these articles are available with open access links for immediate download.

book of the month features a just recently released book from EMDR Master Clinician Jim Knipe, Ph.D - EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation.

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.


Book of the month

Knipe EMDR Toolbox
The book of the month: I am pleased to announce the publication of the long-awaited EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation by EMDR Master Clinician Jim Knipe, Ph.D. Until the publication of this book, EMDR therapist seeking information on Dr. Knipe’s work had to attend the EMDRIA Conference or one of his workshops or seek out the few chapters and articles he has published. From the publisher’s summary: “The book discusses how the concepts and vocabulary of other models of dissociation (particularly the Theory of Structural Dissociation of the Personality, and the Internal Family Systems model) translate directly into EMDR's Adaptive Information Processing language. It presents detailed descriptions of specific EMDR-related tools that are useful in facilitating and safely accelerating therapeutic progress with clients suffering from Complex PTSD. These include such standard EMDR procedures as Trauma Processing and Resource Installation, several conceptual/cognitive/phenomenological models of dissociative personality structures and symptoms, and specific EMDR interventions for resolving dysfunctionally stored post-traumatic elements. The book will be of great value to therapists who wish to extend their use of basic EMDR with "easier" clients to using it effectively with more complex clients.”

Journal Articles


Croes, C. F., van Grunsven, R., Staring, A. B., van den Berg, D. P., de Jongh, A., & van der Gaag, M. (2014). [Imagery in psychosis: EMDR as a new intervention in the treatment of delusions and auditory hallucinations].
Tijdschrift Voor Psychiatrie, 56(9), 568-76.

Carlos F. Croes, Altrecht WA Divisie, Lange Nieuwstraat 119, 3512 PG Utrecht. E-mail: c.croes@altrecht.nl

Full text available in Dutch:


BACKGROUND: Historically, psychotherapy has focused on the treatment of patients' verbal representations (thoughts) and has proved particularly successful in the cognitive behavioural treatment of psychosis. However, there is mounting evidence that visual representations (imagery) play an important role in the onset and maintenance of psychiatric disorders, including psychotic symptoms. There are indications that heightened emotionality and vividness of visual representations are associated with severity of psychotic experiences. This may imply that a reduction in the vividness and emotionality of the psychosis-related imagery can lessen the suffering and stress, caused by the psychotic symptoms.

AIM: To introduce EMDR as a possible type of psychological treatment for patients suffering from psychosis-related imagery.

METHOD: Three outpatients who had a psychotic disorder and suffered from auditory hallucinations and delusions were treated with EMDR in an average of six sessions. Treatment was performed by three therapists in different psychiatric institutions. All three were experienced in administrating CBT and EMDR.

RESULTS: Treatment with EMDR reduced patients' level of anxiety, depression and the severity of psychotic symptoms. In addition, patients reported less avoidant behaviour and greater cognitive insight.

CONCLUSION: The results of the study suggest that EMDR reduces the vividness and emotionality of imagery in psychosis which in turn alleviates the patients' psychotic symptoms. Further research into other possible types of interventions for the treatment of imagery in psychosis is recommended


Di Lorenzo, G., Monaco, L., Daverio, A., Giannoudas, I., Verardo, A. R., La Porta, P., . . . Siracusano, A. (2014). Enhancement of right hemisphere EEG functional connectivity after EMDR therapy.
European Psychiatry, 29, 1-. doi:10.1016/S0924-9338(14)78912-6

G. Di Lorenzo, Department of Systems Medicine University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Chair of Psychiatry, Rome, Italy


Brain connectivity changes have been recently demonstrated in victims of psychological traumas treated with the eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Forty victims of psychological traumas were investigated at the first EMDR session (t0) and at the last one performed after processing the index trauma (t1).

To investigate differences in EEG functional source connectivity during bilateral ocular stimulation (BS) during EMDR therapy at t0 and t1.

Brain electrical activity during whole EMDR sessions was record with a 37-channel EEG. EEG functional connectivity analysis was based on the lagged phase synchronization (LPS), derived by a two-step eLoreta procedure: dimensionality reduction of inverse matrix from 6239 voxels to 28 regions of interest (ROIs); LPS index computation, for each spectrum band, in all possible ROI pairs.

Significant differences were detected between t0 and t1 in alpha band LPS indexes. A prevalent enhancement in right intrahemispheric functional connectivity was found in t1 respect to t0, particularly among ROI pairs of (a) frontal regions (anterior frontal, orbital frontal, lateral frontal cortices) and limbic structures (anterior cingulate cortex, ACC), (b) frontal regions and associative areas (insula cortex, parietal lobe), (c) ACC and primary visual cortex and (d) ACC and associative areas.

These findings suggest that EMDR efficacy is associated to electrical brain connectivity changes during BS. An enhancement in the right hemisphere alpha band functional connectivity of areas involved in cognitive control, emotional processing and visual associative functions may play a key role in the elaboration of psychological traumas.


Logie, R. (2014). EMDR—more than just a therapy for PTSD.
The Psychologist, 27(7), 512-517.

Robin Logie, E-mail: info@robinlogie.com

Full text available at:


Now recognised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the World Health Organization as a treatment of choice for post-traumatic stress disorder, it appears that eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) has 'come of age' as a psychological therapy on a par with cognitive behavioural therapy or psychodynamic psychotherapy. However we still do not know how it works. And should it really be used for the treatment of other disorders as varied as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and psychosis?


McGuire, T. M., Lee, C. W., & Drummond, P. D. (2014). Potential of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 7, 273-83. doi:10.2147/PRBM.S52268

Christopher W. Lee School of Psychology, Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch, Perth, WA, Australia 6150 Tel +61 08 9360 2186 email chris.lee@murdoch.edu.au

Full text available online:


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to attract both empirical and clinical interest due to its complex symptom profile and the underlying processes involved. Recently, research attention has been focused on the types of memory processes involved in PTSD and hypothesized neurobiological processes. Complicating this exploration, and the treatment of PTSD, are underlying comorbid disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Treatment of PTSD has undergone further reviews with the introduction of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR has been empirically demonstrated to be as efficacious as other specific PTSD treatments, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. There is emerging evidence that there are different processes underlying these two types of trauma treatment and some evidence that EMDR might have an efficiency advantage. Current research and understanding regarding the processes of EMDR and the future direction of EMDR is presented.


Wheeler, K. (2014). Inadequate treatment and research for PTSD at the VA.
The American Psychologist, 69(7), 707-8. doi:10.1037/a0037600

Kathleen Wheeler, School of Nursing, Room 109, Fairfield Univer-sity, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. E-mail: kwheeler@mail.fairfield.edu


Comments on the article by B. E. Karlin and G. Cross (see record 2013-31043-001). The article by Karlin and Cross clearly laid out how to disseminate and implement evidence-based psychotherapy in the Veterans Health Administration. The only problem is that the list of evidence-based psychotherapies notably missed one of the most highly regarded and effective evidence-based psychotherapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).