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J Anxiety Disord. 1999 Jan-Apr;13(1-2):87-99.

The cognitive dismantling of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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  • 1Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008, USA.


Twenty-seven subjects were exposed to standard Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment or a similar treatment without the explicit cognitive elements found in EMDR. Standardized psychometric assessments were administered (Structured Interview for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Impact of Event Scale, Revised Symptom Checklist-90) by independent assessors at pretest, posttest and two separate follow-up periods. Potential subjects met specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. Subjective measures including Subjective Units of Disturbance and Validity of Cognition assessments were also conducted. A two-factor repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that both treatments produced significant symptom reductions and were comparable on all dependent measures across assessment phases. The present findings are discussed in light of previous dismantling research that converges to suggest that several elements in the EMDR protocol may be superfluous in terms of the contribution to treatment outcome. These same elements have nevertheless entered unparsimoniously into consideration as possible explanatory variables.

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