Japanese Journal of Behavior Analysis
Online ISSN : 2424-2500
Print ISSN : 0913-8013
ISSN-L : 0913-8013
From Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing to Exposure Therapy : A Review of the Evidence for Shared Mechanisms
C. RICHARD SPATESELLEN I. KOCH
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2004 Volume 18 Issue 2 Pages 62-76

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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that affects people in all cultures and throughout the lifespan. Since the introduction of posttraumatic stress disorder into diagnostic practice, a great deal of research has addressed its epidemiology, pathophysiology, and psychological and physiological mechanisms, as well as its treatment. A behavioral formulation of the disorder has prevailed among leading researchers in the field, and has proved heuristic in leading to efficacious treatments, e.g., exposure therapy. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMD/R), a recently developed intervention that claims to be a departure from this formulation, has received empirical support for its efficacy. The present article reviews the evidence supporting a behavioral formulation of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and suggests that it shares common mechanisms of action with exposure therapy. Greater research attention should be given to examining ways of rendering exposure-based therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder more tolerant and acceptable to clients and practitioners.

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© 2004 The Japanese Association for Behavior Analysis
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