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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1996 Sep;27(3):231-9.

Measuring effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in non-clinical anxiety: a multi-subject, yoked-control design.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, OH 45221-0376, USA.


Twenty-eight subjects from a university's subject pool were paired on sex, age, severity, and type of stressful or traumatic incident. One subject in each pair was selected to receive EMDR; the experimental partner spent the same amount of time receiving a visual (non-movement) placebo. Subjective units of discomfort (SUD) scores and physiological measurements were taken prior to and following treatment. Analysis of physiological measurements and self-reported levels of stress were performed within and between each group. While the EMDR group showed significant reductions of stress, EMDR was no better than a placebo. This suggests EMDR's specific intervention involving eye movement may not be a necessary component of the treatment protocol.

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