EMDR Research Foundation Announces Study On Treatment of Trauma

The EMDR Research Foundation is pleased to announce the release of a study on how eye movements may reduce fear-related trauma. Funded by the EMDR Research Foundation, this study, “Eye-movement intervention enhances extinction via amygdala deactivation” examines the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), an evidence-based psychotherapy effective in the treatment of persons who have experienced trauma.

In a world filled with trauma from both natural events such as hurricanes and earthquakes to the human tragedy of war and terror, there is an ever-growing need for effective treatments for those experiencing these traumatic events. According to the National Institutes of Health, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Sidran Institute, 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives, equating to approximately 223.4 million people.

Founded in 2006, the EMDR Research Foundation is the only organization worldwide dedicated to the promotion of quality, unbiased research in EMDR therapy. Scientific research has established EMDR therapy as effective for post-traumatic stress, but more research still needs to be done.

“Early Intervention in response to crises, whether mass shootings, individual violence, accidents, or natural disasters has the potential to prevent or mediate the impact of trauma, and later development of PTSD,” said Wendy J. Freitag, President of the EMDR Research Foundation. “We need additional research to determine the most effective responses to these events.”

Each year, the Foundation awards approximately $50,000-$150,000 in research grants to EMDR therapy researchers, practitioners, and students through a careful and stringent application process. Authored by Lycia D. de Voogd and Erno J. Hermans of Donders Institute for Brain, Cognitiation and Behaviour at Radboud University in The Netherlands, this recent study provides an account of how behavioral manipulations of the working memory and suppressing amygdala activity—the part of the brain involved with the experiencing of emotions—can alter retention of emotional memories.

One researcher noted, “There has not been enough research towards the execution of eye movements following trauma recall. Thanks to the support of the EMDR Research Foundation, this research will hopefully benefit more people with fear-related trauma.”

If you would like to learn more about this study, please visit http://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2018/09/04/JNEUROSCI.0703-18.2018.