Treating obsessive compulsive disorder using EMDR: a case series design

Paul Keenan

Saturday 18 june 2016

14:30 - 15:00h at Kilimanjaro

Categories: Case studies, Obsessive compulsive disorder, Research

Parallel session: Research track

The main psychological treatment paradigm for OCD is Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBP), (NICE 2005, Salkovskis 2008, Deacon et al 2004). However it must be acknowledged that whilst CBP can be effective, not all clients respond well to CBP and even when they do the level of improvement varies (Roth 2006). Rector et al (2009) report high “drop out” rates of up to 40% of people suffering from OCD and receiving CBP. Various studies have demonstrated that interventions that focus upon the way clients appraise the content of their obsessive thoughts, rather than focussing on the thought itself, produce better and longer lasting results (Salkovskis 2008; Deakon et al 2004; Clark 2000 & Rackman 1993)


Adults between the ages of 18-65 who carry a diagnosis of OCD and who have received CBP within the previous five years but are still experiencing symptoms, will be offered assessment and eight sessions of EMDR (in an effort to replicate IAPT services), followed by one and three month follow up appointments (no EMDR will be used at follow up). Normal EMDR protocol will be used for clients with past aversive life experiences (PALE) normal EMDR focussing on Intolerance of Uncertainty for those where no PALE was identified.


Significant improvement noted across all psychometric measures at three month follow up, also self- reported positive behavioural change reported by subjects.

Learning objectives

1. To gain a deeper critical understanding of the utilisation of EMDR in the treatment of OCD.

2. To be able to discuss critically how EMDR may be used in reducing the emotional valience, significant to “Intolerance of Uncertainty” as experienced in OCD.

3. To examine critically the limitations, if any, in the application of EMDR with OCD with particular reference to the AIP model. 


Co-authors: L.K. Keenan and D.F. Farrell

More information

  • Location(s)
  • plattegrond Kilimanjaro