Landmark publication "strongly recommends" EMDR trauma therapy


The International Institute for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) released a new policy statement for 2019, giving EMDR its strongest recommendation for the treatment of PTSD in adults. Twenty treatment methods were considered, if that puts it into perspective. EMDR as an early intervention (when trauma is new) was also given a recommendation.

Simply put, EMDR works, and everyone knows it. Page 17 has the relevant information, and page 26 has a great summary of what EMDR is, actually. [Click here to view ISSTD policy statement]

Researchers and trauma therapists have not always been fans of EMDR! When Dr. Francine Shapiro first introduced the method, she was ridiculed--but she stuck to it. Now, EMDR is the top-of-the-line treatment for trauma.

It is worth noting that Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE), formerly the top recognized therapies, were also strongly recommended, but this must be kept in context. TF-CBT and PE are "desensitization" therapies designed to "numb out" trauma, whereas EMDR is a "transformational" therapy that focuses on triggers and negative self-belief, resolving symptoms in the process.

In addition to being more comprehensive, EMDR does not involve the pain of re-living trauma that TF-CBT and PE do. It is also the case that TF-CBT and PE can take numerous sessions to resolve one single memory, while EMDR can resolve numerous events in one session. EMDR is therefore the better choice when an individual has more than one traumatic experience (complex PTSD).