This second phase of research into EMDR was characterised by direct comparisons of EMDR with other treatments, mainly exposure therapies.
Rogers et al. (1999) was a well controlled study comparing EMDR and exposure, paying particular attention to process issues such as speed, ease of application, comfort for the client, and safety. Twelve Vietnam veterans were given EMDR or exposure over one extended session with both groups showing improvements, but with EMDR showing greater positive changes on within session SUDS levels and on self monitored severity of intrusive recollections. However, sample size was small and only one session of treatment was examined.
Edmond et al. (1999) assigned 59 adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse randomly either to EMDR, eclectic therapy or a delayed treatment group. On every outcome measure the EMDR participants scored significantly better than controls after six sessions of treatment.
Ironson et al. (2002) compared EMDR to prolonged exposure (PE) in 22 community-based PTSD victims. Both treatments produced significant reductions in PTSD and depression symptoms at the end of treatment and at three months follow up. However, seven out of 10 subjects had 70 % reduction in PTSD symptoms after three sessions in the EMDR group, compared with two out of 12 with PE, with a significantly lower dropout rate in the EMDR group. However sample size was small and assessors not entirely blind.
Lee et al. (2002) compared EMDR with stress inoculation training (SIT) plus prolonged exposure in 24 randomly assigned PTSD subjects. There were no significant differences between EMDR and SIT plus PE on global measures post treatment, except for significant improvement on intrusion symptoms in the EMDR group, and EMDR showed significantly greater improvement on trauma and distress measures at three months follow up. Sample size again was low and assessors not blind to treatment assignment.
Power, McGoldrick & Brown (2002). This study is the largest comparison of EMDR and exposure so far, with the longest follow up. It has also been published as a study for the Scottish Home and Health Department. It involved the random assignment of 105 PTSD patients to EMDR, exposure plus cognitive restructuring, or a wait-list control. The EMDR and ECR groups both demonstrated significant clinical gains over the wait-list control, with no significant differences in effectiveness between the treatment groups. The EMDR was, however, significantly more efficient than the ECR, with patients in the EMDR group receiving a mean of 4.2 sessions in comparison with a mean of 6.4 sessions for the exposure group. The statistical analysis in this study was however open to criticism and termination of treatment was to some extent left to clinical judgement.
Taylor et al. (2003) in a well controlled study was the only randomised study to show exposure statistically superior to EMDR on two subscales (out of ten). However the exposure group did include therapist assisted invivo exposure in addition to imaginal exposure and one hour of daily homework. The EMDR group used only standard sessions and no homework.
Rothbaum et al. (2005). This study evaluated the relative efficacy of prolonged exposure and EMDR compared to a no-treatment wait list control, for rape victims. Improvement in PTSD was significantly greater in both the PE and EMDR group than the wait list group. PE and EMDR didn't differ in effectiveness but Rothbaum points out that 'EMDR seemed to do equally well despite these exposure and no homework.'
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EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. It works to free the user of both physical and emotional pain and relieve chronic conditions by healing the physical responses our bodies make after we've been hurt or experienced pain. While some people do not carry the effects of these experiences, others have bodies that hold onto these memories, which affect the way the body works. Because it is a free and fast technique, even if you are not one hundred percent committed to whether it works or not, it is still worth giving it a shot and seeing if there is any improvement.