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Online Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy for Chronic Pain: A Pilot-Controlled Trial 


The study aimed to provide a preliminary evaluation of the acceptability and effectiveness of online eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) compared with a waitlist control (WLC). A pilot nonrandomized controlled trial was conducted. Eighteen adults experiencing chronic pain completed the study (nEMDR = 10; ncontrol = 8). The intervention received up to 10 weekly sessions of online EMDR. The control group received treatment as usual. Participants completed baseline and post-intervention measures assessing posttraumatic stress, pain severity, interference, and catastrophizing, and depression levels. Additionally, the online EMDR group participants provided feedback on intervention acceptability and satisfaction. The online EMDR group demonstrated significant reductions in both trauma and pain-related outcomes; depression levels did not significantly change. No significant change was observed in any outcome within the control group. After the WLC also received the intervention, additional analysis results demonstrated similar effects but did not reach statistical significance, except for depression. Overall, online EMDR appeared acceptable and positively received by participants. The study provides preliminary support that online delivery of EMDR may reduce trauma- and pain-related outcomes in individuals experiencing chronic pain. Further large-scale research is warranted to substantiate these findings. Limitations and implications are discussed.

Categories Clinical Psychology, Medicine, Health and Social Care
Keywords Chronic Pain, Complex Trauma, EMDR, Online Therapy, Psychological Treatment, PTSD
Author 1. Benjamin Rosser, 2. Alessio Agostinis, 3. Jonathan Bond
Date published 2023
Document type Report
Organisation Health and Community Services
IRR Code IRR/HCS/2023.43694
File Type www