Group Therapy and EMDR

What is EMDR & Group Therapy

Group therapy and Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) are well-established and well-researched approaches to psychotherapy. The effectiveness of EMDR in the treatment of traumatized patients is 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. In this article, we will talk about EMDR and Group Therapy.

What is group therapy?

Group therapy is the practice of individuals with similar issues discussing their feelings and understanding each other in order to work through difficulties together.
Group therapy provides members coping mechanisms for life stressors, encouragement to develop healthy social skills, increased self-esteem due to feeling validated by fellow group members, accountability for taking actions outside the group session meeting place, and decreased isolation.

group therapy

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 traumatic 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

group therapy and emdr 1
Source: @clini.soul

EMDR Group Therapy was firstly suggested and applied by Jarero and Artigas. They planned to use this therapy on children 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 share similar traumatizing experiences such as natural disasters, 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.

Last Updated on December 12, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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