International Journal of Stress Management

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 179-200

First online:

Stress Management with Law Enforcement Personnel: A Controlled Outcome Study of EMDR Versus a Traditional Stress Management Program

  • Sandra A. WilsonAffiliated withSpencer Curtis Foundation Email author 
  • , Robert H. TinkerAffiliated withSpencer Curtis Foundation
  • , Lee A. BeckerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Colorado University
  • , Carol R. LoganAffiliated withColorado Springs Police Department

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been shown to be effective for treating posttraumatic stress disorder, but its efficacy as a stress management tool for normal individuals in highly stressful occupations has not been demonstrated. Sixty-two police officers were randomly assigned to either EMDR or a standard stress management program (SMP), each consisting of 6 hours of individualized contact. At completion, officers in the EMDR condition provided lower ratings on measures of PTSD symptoms, subjective distress, job stress, and anger; and higher marital satisfaction ratings than those in SMP. The effects of EMDR were maintained at the 6-month follow-up, indicating enduring gains from a relatively brief treatment regimen for this subclinical sample of officers who were experiencing some level of stress from their job.

EMDR desensitization stress management police officers controlled outcome study