Group Therapy and EMDR

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is a well established and well researched approach to psychotherapy. The effectiveness of EMDR in the treatment of traumatized patients has been recognized by various professional groups. including; the American Psychological Association (Chambless et al., 1998.) and the American Psychiatric Association (2004). Because of this success EMDR has been considered as a research topic in many studies and directed researchers to different applications.

The number of traumatized individuals in the world is surprising. And the need for treatment to especially after a massive trauma, is increasing. And this treatment should be as fast and effective as possible. The need for these therapies has led to the need to investigate whether individual therapies are feasible for group therapies.

Clinical observations and findings suggest that eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) may be useful to reduce excessive distress and prevent complications in the weeks and months following critical events. In this respect, the applicability of EMDR to group therapy after traumatic experiences has been investigated by many researchers. EMDR plays an important role in the treatment of trauma memories as a relatively shorter treatment compared to other treatment modalities with early interventions and it has been deemed appropriate to be applied in group therapies in order to prevent negative thoughts.

First Use and Development of EMDR

EMDR Group Therapy was firstly suggested and applied by Jarero and Artigas. They planned to use this therapy on childeren as EMDR Integrative Therapy Protocol (IGTP). But then psychologists updated it and make it possible to use on adults as well. The reason for the EMDR Group Protocol emerged was the need for mental health services after a natural disaster on the west coast of Mexico in 1997.

The only thing that matters is that the patients sharing the similar traumatizing experience. For example natural disaster, war etc.

The resulting format is assumed to provide wider access than individual EMDR applications. This protocol was also compared with group therapy of other models in terms of time, source, and outcome, and was found to be more effective than many other group therapies. EMDR Group therapy has proven to be effective in many studies in the literature. For example, the impact on the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, the effect on children affected by a hurricane in Hawaii. Or the impact on the victims of the earthquake in Turkey. EMDR group therapy has been shown to reduce negative behavior and traumatic symptomatology in all these events.
 

Cindy Brown
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