A controlled study of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disordered sexual assault victims

Bull Menninger Clin. 1997 Summer;61(3):317-34.


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a new method developed to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study evaluated the efficacy of EMDR compared to a no-treatment wait-list control in the treatment of PTSD in adult female sexual assault victims. Twenty-one subjects were entered, and 18 completed. Treatment was delivered in four weekly individual sessions. Assessments were conducted pre- and posttreatment and 3 months following treatment termination by an independent assessor kept blind to treatment condition. Measures included standard clinician- and self-administered PTSD and related psychopathology scales. Results indicated that subjects treated with EMDR improved significantly more on PTSD and depression from pre- to posttreatment than control subjects, leading to the conclusion that EMDR was effective in alleviating PTSD in this study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Desensitization, Psychologic / methods
  • Desensitization, Psychologic / standards*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome