This narrative literature review examines 12 eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy studies published in peer-reviewed journals that implement qualitative methodology other than case studies. Qualitative studies in the EMDR community and in mental health research can get overlooked because they are not perceived to be as scientific as quantitative studies. However, the presence of proper, systematic methodology in qualitative research can reveal another layer of important data about the how and why of EMDR therapy’s impact. A variety of study types are reviewed (grounded theory, phenomenology, content and thematic analysis, and several other published forms) that offer evidence-based insight in six major areas of relevance to the EMDR community: the value of the therapeutic relationship and attunement, the role of EMDR therapy preparation and safety measures, the perceived impact of reprocessing phases, and insights for EMDR therapy training and implementation. The authors conclude that it is imperative that clinicians attend to the therapeutic relationship and provide adequate preparation. A discussion about clinical implementation and training EMDR therapists is also included, with suggestions made for advancing qualitative research in EMDR therapy.
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Marich, J., Dekker, D., Riley, M., & O’Brien, A. (2020). Qualitative Research in EMDR Therapy: Exploring the Individual Experience of the How and Why. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 14(3), 118–134. https://doi.org/10.1891/EMDR-D-20-00001
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research