University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in patients with a personality disorder

Hafkemeijer, L. ORCID:, de Jongh, Ad ORCID:, van der Palen, J. ORCID: and Starrenburg, A. ORCID: (2020) Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in patients with a personality disorder. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 11 (1). Article no. 1838777. ISSN 2000-8066

de-Jongh-2020-VoR-Eye-movement-desensitization-and-reprocessing-EMDR-in-patients-with-a-personality-disorder.pdf - Published Version
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Background: Little is known about the effects of targeting memories of adverse (childhood) events in people with a personality disorder (PD).
Objective: Determining the effectiveness of brief EMDR therapy in individuals with PD.
Method: In a randomized-controlled trial, 97 outpatients with a PD as main diagnosis were allocated to either five (90 minutes) sessions of EMDR therapy (n = 51) or a waiting list (WL) control condition (n = 46) followed by 3 months of treatment as usual for their PD.
Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were excluded. Measurements were performed on psychological symptoms, psychological distress, and personality dysfunctioning. Outcomes were compared at baseline, post-treatment, and at 3-month follow up. Data were analysed as intent-to-treat with linear mixed models.
Results: EMDR therapy yielded significant improvements with medium to large effect sizes for the primary outcomes after treatment, i.e. psychological symptoms (EMDR: d =.42; control group: d =.07), psychological distress (EMDR: d =.69; control group: d =.29), and personality functioning (EMDR: d =.41; control group: d = −.10) within groups. At 3-month follow-up, after 3 months of TAU, improvements were maintained. Significant differences were found between both groups regarding all outcome measures in favour of the EMDR group at post-treatment (ds between −.62 and −.65), and at follow-up, after 3 months of TAU (ds between −.45 and −.53).
Conclusions: The results suggest that EMDR therapy can be beneficial in the treatment of patients with PDs. More rigorous outcome.

Item Type: Article
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The full-text of the online published article can be accessed via the official URL.

© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (,
which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: personality disorder, EMDR, trauma, adverse events
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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SWORD Depositor: Prof. Pub Router
Depositing User: Karen Veitch
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 16:28
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2020 17:14

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