Research in clinical psycho-oncology is becoming an area of key importance in investigating the effects of the interventions of support and/or psychotherapy with patients. This study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of the eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) approach compared to a non–trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention. There were 11 male and 46 female participants, with mixed cancer diagnoses. Thirty-one subjects received EMDR therapy, and 26 received CBT for 12 sessions of 60 minutes each. The Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R), COPE inventory, and Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) were administered at three different times (T0, before intervention; T1, after the sixth session; and T2, after the 12th session); the Karnofsky Performance Status was administered at T0 only. In the EMDR group, a significant improvement was reported for the following 11 of the 17 dependent variables: COPE subscales, Avoidance Strategies and Positive Attitude; all three DTS subscales, Intrusion, Avoidance, and Hyperarousal; and 6 SCL-90-R subscales. In the CBT group, a significant improvement was reported for the following 4 of the 17 dependent variables: COPE subscales Positive Attitude and Transcendent Orientation; two DTS subscales, Intrusion, and Avoidance, with no improvement on any of the SCL-90-R subscales. This innovative study shows the value of trauma-focused treatment for patients with cancer and allows important preliminary suggestions on the usefulness of applying EMDR therapy in an oncological setting, although further research in this context is still needed.
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Copyright © 2016 EMDR International Association
Faretta, E., Borsato, T., Civilotti, C., Fernandez, I., & Pagani, M. (2016). EMDR and CBT: A Comparative Clinical Study With Oncological Patients. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(3), 215–228. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-318.104.22.168
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research