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Barry Smale August 20th, 2008 06:36 AM

I have just had a patient referred to me by a Consultant for EMDR treatment for the effects of traumatic combat situations. He is also currently undergoing ECT treatment. I wondered if there are any research results or practical experience about using EMDR with someone undergoing ECT.


Barry Smale

Sandra Paulsen August 20th, 2008 08:57 AM

Re: EMDR and ECT
That's a question I've never heard or thought about, so let me get to colleagues around the world and get back to you.

Sandra Paulsen August 21st, 2008 09:01 AM

Re: EMDR and ECT
This is just a status note. I have received so far about a dozen replies from colleagues hither and yon, and imagine there will be more coming in. Over the weekend will consolidate them into a reply here.

Sandra Paulsen August 21st, 2008 08:23 PM

Re: EMDR and ECT
I have received a number of comments from colleagues around the world, and compile them here. I thought I'd post what I received so far.

1. If a client is a good candidate for ECT, they are not likely a good candidate for EMDR.

2. Numerous people said not to do EMDR and ECT at the same time, one said it would be like driving north and south at the same time on the same freeway, one said either might interfere with the other.

3. There were numerous comments saying to do ECT first, and wait for short-term memory problems to clear, then do EMDR.

4. It would be frustrating to do EMDR and have trouble making associative linkages due to short term memory problems

5. Some said ECT might help with severe depression to the point where the EMDR would be more useful

6. One said EMDR gains might be wiped out by ECT if done in near proximity

7. One had a chronically depressed client who had been helped over the years by ECT, but not the last episode. However, EMDR on inhibited anger helped the last episode. I wonder if EMDR on nhibited/dissociated anger might have eliminated the need for ECT in the first place

8. One colleage had a client who, 25 years ago, had ECT and then left her husband and kids, with indifference, and wondered if the ECT caused the indifference.

9. Another colleague, in response to the preceding vignette, suggested that the indifference was more likely due to attachment issues than ECT.

10. The same colleague reminded that ECT is a different modality than it was years ago. The anesthesia and muscle paralysis makes it unlikely to be injured. Memory loss is rarely irreversible now. ECT works with 80% of patients.

11. One thought memory loss around the time of EMDR could be a blessing.

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