National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD Research Quarterly [Winter 1999]   [open pdf - 114KB]

This issue of "PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] Research Quarterly" contains two articles and a PILOTS (Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress) update. The first article, "Research on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a Treatment for PTSD", written by Richard J. McNally, examines the efficacy of EMDR studies and treatment. From the article: "Although the marketing of EMDR has provoked many lively debates, the purpose of the present article is merely to provide a 'road map' to the literature on randomized, controlled trials. Discussion of the sociological, historical, and economic dimensions of EMDR is available elsewhere (e.g., DeBell & Jones, 1997; Greenwald, in press; McNally, in press-b; Rosen et al., 1998). In summary, there are two sharply divergent views regarding what clinical scientists should do next regarding EMDR. On the one hand, some people believe that further research on EMDR is needed (e.g., Shapiro, 1995). According to this view, more controlled trials comparing EMDR to other effective treatments are warranted. Indeed, EMDR has been compared to an established PTSD treatment in only one trial (Devilly & Spence, in press). On the other hand, others believe that further research on EMDR qua EMDR is unnecessary (e.g., Rosen et al., 1998). According to this view, EMDR is distinguished from traditional desensitization treatments by its addition of induced eye movements to imaginal exposure, and if the defining element of EMDR is therapeutically inert, then there is little reason to investigate EMDR qua EMDR." The second article, "Control Groups in Psychotherapy Research" by Paula P. Schnurr, discusses the necessity for "understanding the role of control groups in psychotherapy research." The focus of the article is on the use of control groups in EMDR research in terms of what types of groups are used, and questions raised by EMDR studies. The author supports the view that "additional comparative research, with strict quality and fidelity controls, is needed in order [to] generate information about the efficacy of EMDR relative to other active treatments for PTSD."

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National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
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PTSD Research Quarterly (Winter 1999), v.10 no.1
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