EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocesing)

Faqs, Frequently Asked Questions about therapy, important if you have never seen a psychologist !!

What is the Emdr

Who recommends it

Action mechanisms

Studies and research

EIE-R Adult Questionnaire

What is it?

# Emdr - whose acronym in Spanish means Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and which comes from its English acronyms (Eye Movement Desensibilization and Reprocessing), whose author Francine Sha Piro discovered it by chance in 1987, is a psychotherapeutic approach with an integrative approach, through a procedure in which bilateral stimulation intervenes, by different methods and means (through the therapist, self-stimulation, online).

It works on the patient's own processing system (SPIA), which is an intrinsic system to the patient and that for various reasons (deaths, psychological, emotional, physical, or other types of abuse, or other factors that occur in the patient's life patient), they block the system and produce symptoms such as (fear, anguish, sadness, pain, low self-esteem, beliefs of the type, I am not worth, I am stupid, I am damaged forever, I cannot express my emotions with confidence, etc.) and These facts, when not being treated, and after a life event generates a disorder (depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, addictions, etc.).

It is also recommended in the treatment of emotional difficulties caused by difficult experiences in the life of the subject, from phobias, panic attacks, traumatic death and grief or traumatic incidents in childhood to accidents and natural disasters. EMDR is also used to alleviate public speaking anxiety and / or phobia, to improve performance at work, in sports, and in artistic performances.

Who recommends it

  • American Psychological Association (APA; USA)

  • World Health Organization (WHO)

  • The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS; USA)

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE; USA)

  • Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPSYCH; UK)

  • Department of Health and social care (UK)

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA; USA)

  • Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH; Canada)

Likewise, EMDR is used as the first line of treatment for PTSD in different countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Israel, France, Sweden, the North of Ireland, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mechanisms of action underlying this psychological therapy

A systematic review recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology (Landin-Romero, Moreno-Alcazar, Pagani, & Amann, 2018), collects and summarizes the results of 87 randomized and controlled clinical trials organized into three large categories according to the different hypotheses explanatory about the effectiveness of EMDR:

  1. H ipótesis based on psychological models: The most accepted hypothesis so far is the explanation based on the model memory workof Badeley and Hitch (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974).

  2. E studies of functional neuroimaging have observed a restoration of cortical control, especially of frontal regions, over hyperactivated subcortical structures of the limbic system such as the amygdala; These recent investigations are part of the neurobiological models.

  3. H ipótesis sustained in psychophysiological models in this category we find mainly two explanatory models:

    • The first of them is the one whose authors postulate that eye movements and the dual attentional task promote psychophysiological changes in the body, favoring a reduction in arousal through the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

    • The second proposal that has been put forward maintains that eye movements cause physiological changes similar to those that occur during the REM sleep phase (from the English "rapid eye movement"). This model holds that the integration of episodic memory into semantic memory occurs while we sleep.

Studies and research

(Benedikt Amann, Alicia Valiente, Ana Moreno, Miguel Angel Santed, Anabel Gonzalez)

  • There are numerous randomized controlled studies on EMDR Therapy that show clinical efficacy of this psychotherapy.

  • E sta effectiveness is reflected in several meta - analyzes and systematic reviews.

  • There are recent meta-analyzes showing that the eye movements included in EMDR procedures are an active ingredient of this psychotherapy.

  • #E MDR is recognized in most international Clinical Guidelines as one of the first-line treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Brief summary, to see more studies and bibliographic review you can download the pdf

L os controlled randomized clinical trials (ERC) respond to the highest degree of scientific evidence because they control potential biases that may exist in clinical research. They are the medical procedures that allow demonstrating the scientific efficacy of a treatment and / or therapeutic intervention. We recall that at least two or three controlled studies were needed for a treatment to be considered as having scientific evidence.
There are currently thirty-four CKD that demonstrate the efficacy of EMDR therapy in the treatment of PTSD, 25 in the adult population (Acarturk et al., 2016; Arabia, Manca, & Solomon, 2011; Carlson, J., Chemtob, CM, Rusnak, K., Hedlund, NL, & Muraoka, 1998; Edmond, Rubin, & Wambach, 1999; Högberg et al., 2007; Ironson, Freund, Strauss, & Williams, 2002; Jarero, Uribe, Artigas, & Givaudan, 2015; Jarero, Artigas, & Luber, 2011; C. Lee, Gavriel, Drummond, Richards, & Greenwald, 2002; Marcus, Marquis, & Sakai, 2004, 1997; Nijdam et al., 2018; Nijdam, Gersons, Reitsma, De Jongh, & Olff, 2012; Power et al., 2002; Rothbaum, 1997;
Rothbaum, Astin, & Marsteller, 2005; Sack et al., 2016; Scheck, Schaeffer, & Gillette, 1998; E. Shapiro & Laub, 2015; F. Shapiro, 1989; Taylor et al., 2003; Ter Heide, Mooren, Van De Schoot, De Jongh, & Kleber, 2016; Van Der Kolk et al., 2007; Vaughan et al., 1994; Wilson, S., Becker,
LA, & Tinker, 1995) and 9 in the child and adolescent population (Ahmad, Larsson, & Sundelin-Wahlsten, 2007; Chemtob, Nakashima, & Carlson, 2002; de Roos et al., 2011, 2017; Diehle, Opmeer, Boer, Mannarino , & Lindauer, 2015; Fernandez, Abbasnejad, Mahani, & Zamyad, 2007; Jaberghaderi, Greenwald, Rubin, Zand, & Dolatabadi, 2004; Kemp, Drummond, & McDermott, 2010; Soberman, Greenwald, & David, 2002) (see Table 1). Likewise, beyond the treatment of PTSD, it has been seen in CKD that this therapy is effective and safe for the treatment of traumatic life events in people with other comorbid psychiatric pathologies (Behnammoghadam, Alamdari, Behnammoghadam, & Darban, 2015; Gerhardt et al., 2016; Hase et al., 2015, 2018; Hase, Schallmayer, & Sack, 2008; Novo et al., 2014; Perez-Dandieu & Tapia, 2014; Wanders, Serra, & de Jongh, 2008) (see Table 2).

Along these lines, a systematic review recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology collects a large part of these studies endorsing the efficacy and safety of EMDR in these clinical conditions (Valiente-Gómez et al., 2017).