Every year, thousands of women are sexually assaulted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2008, the author was invited to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assist in developing and evaluating a brief psychotherapeutic approach that could be used to effectively treat sexually assaulted women suffering from posttraumatic stress. In this field study, 37 women were assigned to receive either 2 sessions of individual therapy (n = 8) using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or 2 sessions of group therapy (n = 29) using the EMDR Integrative Group Treatment Protocol (EMDR-IGTP). Results of the study showed significant improvement in scores on the Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) Scale. SUD scores of those receiving individual therapy showed a significantly larger decrease than scores of the group therapy participants. All women completed the Impact of Event Scale (IES) before treatment, with scores well higher than the cutoff for posttraumatic stress disorder. Women (n = 6) in the first of the 4 EMDR-IGTP groups also completed the IES measure 2 weeks after treatment completion, with a significant decrease in their scores. In addition, many of the women spontaneously reported elimination of painful body sensations after the therapy. This study suggests the value of further research and development.
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Copyright © 2015 EMDR International Association
Allon, M. (2015). EMDR Group Therapy With Women Who Were Sexually Assaulted in the Congo. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 9(1), 28–34. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3220.127.116.11
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research