Research News

EMDR publications database

The EMDR Publications Database has been developed collaboratively using the expertise of the Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and is provided as a free resource for Association members. Almost 600 members have signed up so far, and hopefully as reports of its usefulness spread, more of you will use it as a resource to support your clinical and research work. You can learn how to access the database here.   

The EMDR Publications Database is a collection of peer-reviewed research and dissertations/theses focusing on EMDR. It contains over 1800 references, many of which have access to the full text. References in the database are categorised by keywords relating to the clinical area and study type, allowing for easy browsing. The database can also be searched by terms of interest. 

Why bother with the EMDR publications database?

You may feel daunted by the prospect of learning a new application, but it is well worth it. The videos are clear and only contain the information necessary to get you up to speed with using the database. It is well worth investing an hour in learning how to use it, and here are two good reasons why: Firstly, it saves time and secondly it reduces workload. This is how.  

Imagine you are asked to provide evidence to management for the use of EMDR in the treatment of OCD. 


  • Jiscmail or EMDR Forum request to colleagues who may respond with a paper they have read or personal experience, or you might be directed to Andrew Leeds’ research blog. The replies may take several days to arrive in your inbox and you would have to filter out the responses that were helpful.  
  • Google Scholar.  ”EMDR OCD” produces around 6000 hits in 100 pages. It will take hours to search the output, weeding out duplicates, newsletters, citations, blogs, presentations and case reports in order to make a decision about what constitutes evidence.  
  • The Francine Shapiro Library. “EMDR OCD” produces 82 results.  You will spend a significant amount of time sifting through the output for the real evidence amongst the presentations, conference announcements, personal opinions and actual reviews or trials. If you do find a reference that fits you may be able to access the abstract.  
  • EMDR Publications Database. Clicking the “OCD” tag will produce 23 items. The search algorithm has already done the sifting work and the output is evidence that would be acceptable in a Cochrane review. There is no need to weed out duplicates, foreign language papers or conference flyers.  Abstracts are available for each item and links to full text articles if they are freely available. Citations can be exported directly into a Word document and a bibliography can be created from the references. 

Not-so-helpful Chat GPT 

Some of you tech-savvy readers might be thinking that Chat GPT or another AI programme could do all of this and much faster, plus it could write up whatever it is that you are researching. I thought that I would try this out, so I created an account with Chat GPT.  I then asked it to summarise the effectiveness of EMDR in disorders other than PTSD. It returned around 500 words in seconds.  I read through it and at first reading it seemed plausible, but I did not recognise some of the citations. So I asked it to provide references for the studies mentioned. In Table 1. below is Chat GPT’s exact response, again it all looks pretty plausible. 

That is, until you actually check the references out. I did this first using the EMDR Publications Database. If I could not find it there I went to the journal website and searched the archive. What I found is in the second column. 

Certainly! Here are the citations for the studies mentioned:”
DepressionBarrowcliff, A. L., Gray, N. S., Freeman, T. C., & MacCulloch, S. (2014). Eye-movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) as a treatment for depression: A systematic review. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 8(2), 82-101.DOES NOT EXIST 
Anxiety disordersHase, M., Balmaceda, U. M., Hase, A., & Lehnung, M. (2018). Evaluation of EMDR in patients with generalized anxiety disorder: A pilot study. BMC Psychiatry, 18(1), 138. DOES NOT EXIST
Anxiety disordersHase, M., Schallmayer, S., & Sack, M. (2016). EMDR reprocessing of the addiction memory: Pretreatment, posttreatment, and 1-month follow-up. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(4), 238-247.  The correct reference is 2008, Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(3), 170-179 
Anxiety disordersOren, E., & Solomon, R. M. (2013). EMDR therapy for social anxiety disorder: An exploratory randomized controlled trial. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 7(2), 93-103.DOES NOT EXIST 
Phobias Rothbaum, B. O., Astin, M. C., & Marsteller, F. (2005). Prolonged exposure versus eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD rape victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(6), 607-616. THIS IS A GENUINE REFERENCE 
PhobiasZinbarg, R. E., Craske, M. G., Barlow, D. H., & Brown, T. A. (2006). Assessment of mastery and performance goals for exposure treatment of spider phobia. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(3), 640-649. DOES NOT EXIST 
Jaberghaderi, N., Greenwald, R., Rubin, A., Zand, S. O., & Dolatabadim, S. (2004). A comparison of CBT and EMDR for sexually-abused Iranian girls. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 11(5), 358-368. 
“Please note that these citations represent a sample of the available literature on EMDR for the mentioned conditions. For more comprehensive information, it is recommended to review the studies and explore additional research articles on the topic.”
Table 1. Chat GPT responses to question about EMDR for disorders other than PTSD

So, six out of seven references cited by Chat GPT were either made up or incorrect. Be warned. Use the EMDR Publications Database. 

Database quarterly update

The EMDR Publications Database was most recently updated in July 2023. Fifty-six new publications have been added.  These can be easily viewed, by clicking on the ’NEW’ tag in the EMDR database.  Within the NEW tag, you can then select further tags of interest to see what has recently been added for specific topics and research types. 

Research/publication type tag Number of publications 
Trials 20*
Case series 4
Systematic reviews 5
Meta-analysis and network meta-analysis4
Non-English language3
(German, Spanish, Turkish)
Cohort studies1
Table 2. New publications by research/publication type 

*NB – 2 of the trial’s references are trial protocols. 

Other research types and publication types are included in the database, to view all use the ’NEW’ tag as mentioned above. Twelve book chapters have been added in this update, look for the “open book” icon in the list of references tagged as NEW. Also of note, are the updated World Federation of Societies Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) guidelines for treatment of Anxiety Disorders (Part I) OCD and PTSD (Part II). 

Topic tag Number of new publications added 
Disorders associated with stress 26
Trauma 9
Children and Adolescents 9
Mood disorders/depression/Covid 6 of each
Table 3. The top five publications by topic  

There are currently 74 different ‘tags’ from anxiety to grief to trauma. This quarter we have added ‘race’ and ‘intensive’ as separate tags. This involved tagging references that were already in the database with these new tags, they are not necessarily new references. 

The database is a dynamic project so if you do have any suggestions about papers that you think are missing or how it might be improved please do get in touch. Research Officer 

Other topics are included in the EMDR Publications Database. If you are interested in a topic that does not have a tag, you can enter it into the search box to retrieve references.

Please see our videos for more information:

1. Finding your way around the EMDR Publications Database (Web Version) and

3. Finding your way around the EMDR Database (Desktop version)


  1. The comparative efficacy of CBT and EMDR comes into focus again with an ‘unsystematic review’ that looks at the meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and reviews the most recent guidelines concerning PTSD (Kowalski, Elzanowski, & Sliwerski, 2023). The authors conclude that “efficacious treatment of PTSD should include a protocol with a component of exposure to trauma-related memories and stimuli”. This includes EMDR and CBT which are equally efficacious. 
  2. Rosen contributes what might be considered by some as an heretical paper challenging Francine Shapiro’s claims to have discovered the therapeutic power of saccadic eye movements (Rosen, 2023). This is evidently not his first challenge (Rosen et al., 1999) and he may well have had a personal axe to grind. This paper is well researched and contextualised and is worth a read. 
  3. The twelve book chapters mentioned above are all from the same book ‘EMDR and creative arts therapies’ (2022), Edited by E. Davis, J. Fitzgerald, S. Jacobs and J. Marchand. I have a copy of this book available for review. Please do contact me if you would like to do this.


Kowalski, J., Elzanowski, A., & Sliwerski, A. (2023). A review of selected psychotherapies for PTSD, their efficacy and treatment guidelines in adults. In Psychiatria Polska (Ovid Technologies; pp. 1–11).

Rosen, G, M. (2023). Revisiting the Origins of EMDR. In Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. (Ovid Technologies).

Rosen, G. M., Lohr, J. M., McNally, R. J., & Herbert, J. D. (1999). Power therapies: Evidence vs miraculous claims. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 27(1), 9–12. Embase.