Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing for PTSD

A psychotherapy designed to alleviate distress caused by disturbing memories may be helpful for this patient

Brian, a 49-year-old landscaper, lives with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He was recently diagnosed after presenting in distress, revealing a history of a very traumatic past.

I remembered discussions on a GP online forum about eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) and wondered about the evidence for its efficacy, and how it compared to alternative psychotherapeutic approaches.

Clinical question

Is EMDR an effective treatment for PTSD, and how does it compare to trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT)?

What does the research evidence say?

Step 1: The Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library has a relevant systematic review — published in 2013 — on psychological therapies for chronic PTSD in adults.1

As this systematic review was almost six years old, I