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Unread February 28th, 2005, 02:12 AM
Penny Lewis Penny Lewis is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1
Default EMDR and OCD

What is the current thinking on using Emdr for OCD? Is it necessary to have a precipitating trauma for it to be effective, or can it be used to help the client process their high anxiety when visualising exposure to a feared item?
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Unread February 28th, 2005, 11:24 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Posts: 207
Default Re: EMDR and OCD

There are no controlled studies on the use of EMDR with OCD. There are anecdotal reports that it is helpful. My clinical experience is that it helped to a degree.

EMDR is always easier to use when there is a clear trauma thats at the basis of a symptom or symptom cluster.

Marcia Whisman, in St Louis, had used Exposure and Ritual Prevention for many years to treat OCD and now uses EMDR in combination with ego state therapy to get at unresolved material powering the OCD. She has spoken widely on the subject and has used it many times in her practice.

I was also trained in and used ERP for OCD before EMDR, and now I use a combination of the two. In my experience, Marcia is right that there is an ego state component, often a young ego state engaged in the superstitious or ritual behavior. Targeting with EMDR the pain of that ego state enables it to become more adult and oriented to present time, and less attached to the ritual. I wouldn't do that without using E&RP at the same time, which the research supports as effective. So that's what I do until such time as we have research.
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