Richard G. Petty, MD

Treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

There is an important article in this month’s issue of the journal Psychological Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Heidelberg in Germany carried out a systematic literature review concerning two treatments that are widely used in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

They identified eight publications between 1989 and 2005 describing treatment outcomes of EMDR and CBT in active–active comparisons. Seven of these studies were investigated in a meta-analysis.

What they found was this. Both trauma-focused CBT and EMDR seemed to be equally efficacious and any differences between the two forms of treatment are probably not of clinical significance. Our main focus now should be to attempt to establish which trauma patients are more likely to benefit from one method or the other. The authors comment that it remains unclear is the contribution of the eye movement component in EMDR to treatment outcome.

This paper is interesting in light of our recent discussions concerning brain laterality and PTSD. It seems likely that part of the mechanism of both forms of therapy is to re-wire the brain. I tend to think that the eye movements probably are of importance, since they are also used in thought field therapy which appears also to be helpful to many people with PTSD.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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