What disorders benefit from the EMDR approach?

EMDR Therapy is so well validated for the treatment of PTSD, that the World Health Organization recommends only two treatments for PTSD and EMDR is one of them.

While research has not yet proven that the EMDR Approach can treat all disorders beyond its proven efficacy with PTSD, there is research to suggest that people can have a high level of disturbance from events which would not qualify them for a PTSD diagnosis. That level of disturbance, the related emotions, negative beliefs about self, and the distress experienced in the body can be effectively reduced or eliminated with EMDR. In fact, Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. (2001) has stated that EMDR has been reported by therapists throughout the world to be helpful in reducing or eliminating disorders that originate following a distressing experience.
There are good research findings to indicate that EMDR is effective with:

• Body Dysmorphic Disorder
• Phantom Limb Pain

There are preliminary reports in the literature that EMDR may be helpful with:

• Phobias
• Dissociative Disorders
• Performance Anxiety
• Personality Disorders
• Depression
• Attachment Issues
• Social Phobia
• Anger Management Problems
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder
• Distress related to infertility
• Body Image Disturbance
• Marital Discord
• Existential Angst

Additionally, there are reports at national and international EMDR Conferences that EMDR may be helpful with:

• Panic Disorder
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Further scientific research is needed to learn for certain whether the results are enduring in these applications. Clients will need to understand that EMDR is experimental in the above situations while there continues to be much anecdotal support. And more research is in process. Underscored however, is the fact that EMDR is highly regarded and well-researched as an effective treatment for PTSD.

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