Controversies In Emdr

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing has been controversial since its introduction in 1989. Initially, some of the criticism may have been provoked by the impression that EMDR was being advanced as 'a one-session cure' (Herbert et al., 2000; Lohr et al., 1998). Shapiro (2002) has responded vigorously to such criticisms. Nevertheless, these critics persisted with the view that EMDR was in some way being 'oversold' together with criticisms of the theoretical basis of EMDR as being unsubstantiated and untestable, criticisms focusing on the role of eye movements and, up until recently, doubts about the effectiveness of EMDR, although there are few now who continue to claim that EMDR is not effective, and the argument has shifted more to whether EMDR is effective simply because of its exposure components.

Proponents of EMDR have argued that some of the polarity in views on EMDR have arisen because studies indicating less good results for EMDR have been those conducted with poor fidelity to proper EMDR procedures (Maxfield & Hyer, 2002), and with only one to three sessions of treatment applied to complex multiply traumatised client groups. This section will set out particular areas of controversy around EMDR.

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