Advances in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Cognitive-Behavioral Perspectives

By Steven Taylor | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
EFFICACY AND OUTCOME
PREDICTORS FOR THREE
PTSD TREATMENTS:
EXPOSURE THERAPY, EMDR, AND
RELAXATION TRAINING

Steven Taylor


INTRODUCTION

In recent years there has been a rapidly growing amount of research on the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our recent metaanalysis suggested that exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are among the most effective treatments for PTSD (van Etten & Taylor, 1998). Exposure therapy entails repeated, prolonged imaginai and in vivo exposure to distressing but harmless trauma-related stimuli. EMDR involves imaginai exposure (under conditions of divided attention), free association, and other techniques. The main intervention in EMDR requires the patient to recall trauma-related memories while also attending to some form of external oscillatory stimulation. Stimulation is typically induced by the therapist moving a finger from side to side across the patient's field of vision, which induces eye movements. Sets of eye movements are induced until distress is reduced (Shapiro, 1995). It has been suggested that EMDR is simply a cognitive-behavioral package, consisting of imaginai exposure plus coping skills. Shapiro (1995), however, believes that EMDR is a revolutionary treatment that works more rapidly and efficiently than c-

This research was supported by grants from the British Columbia Health Research Foundation.

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