Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association Response to the Institute of Medicine Report on “Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Initial Assessment”

October 7, 2012

In response to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) July 2012, publication, Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Initial Assessment, the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association (EMDRIA) applauds the IOM for its leadership role in calling for the use of evidence-based methods for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and for advocating stepped-up research on therapies for war stress injuries, with an appropriate recognition of the urgency required.

We do, however, see errors and omissions in the portrayal of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in the IOM reports; we believe that the misrepresentation of EMDR in the 2008 document unfortunately has been perpetuated in the 2012 Initial Assessment. We are concerned that these misunderstandings will be incorporated as Phase 2 of this study proceeds; thus we are providing you with information with the hope that these inaccuracies can be addressed and corrected. This would positively impact further research on the treatment of PTSD. In the following, we have identified several specific statements in the IOM report that misquote or misrepresent the original EMDR research papers. The inaccuracy of the quotes are serious enough to bias the conclusions of the IOM report and call into question the validity of the document.

In addition, we want to highlight the fact that the original IOM report on PTSD called for randomized clinical trials (RCT) to further evaluate EMDR (IOM, 2008), but this recommendation has not been implemented. It is our hope that our response will encourage the IOM to address this lack of follow through and advocate for randomized clinical trials to test the efficacy of all the evidence-based therapies.

EMDRIA’s complete response can be found here.

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