Current State of Research on the Effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMDR) in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder



Relevance. This article provides an overview of studies examining the effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMDR) in treating post–traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It presents the findings from the latest systematic reviews and meta–analyses. Drawing from recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses, this study underscores the significant impact of untreated PTSD on morbidity, functional impairment, and overall mental health. Therefore, exploring effective treatments for PTSD is vital to enhance the quality of life and the mental and physical well-being of affected individuals. Purpose of the study. This study aims to analyze the current state of research concerning the effectiveness of EMDR therapy for PTSD. Results. Eye movement desensitization and processing has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with PTSD, as well as anxiety and depression, among various groups of individuals, including survivors of life–threatening diseases (such as cancer), first responders, and internally displaced persons/refugees. The research suggests that EMDR may be more effective than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in reducing the severity of intrusion and arousal symptoms. However, both approaches show relatively similar rates of reduction in avoidance symptoms. Encouragingly, recent studies indicate that EMDR therapy's effectiveness extends beyond trauma-focused applications, emphasizing its potential utility in addressing a broader spectrum of issues. The researchers note that further investigation is needed to determine the effectiveness of EMDR on different samples. Currently, there are no studies available on the effectiveness of EMDR specifically on a Russian sample, based on the best of our knowledge.

General Information

Keywords: effectiveness of psychotherapy, post–traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, EMDR, meta–analysis, randomised trials, scientific review

Journal rubric: Research Reviews

Article type: scientific article


Received: 27.06.2023


For citation: Kazennaya E.V. Current State of Research on the Effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMDR) in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2023. Vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 69–90. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2023310304. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elena V. Kazennaya, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychological Anthropology, Childhood Institute, Moscow Pedagogical State University (MPSU), Associate Professor, Department ofPsychology, HSE University; Head of the Certification Committee and Co–Founder of EMDR Russia Association, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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