Addition-focused EMDR therapy in gambling disorder: a multiple baseline study

Marja van Minnen, Wiebren Markus, Eric Blaauw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Preliminary findings suggest the application of an adapted, addiction-focused EMDR procedure, AF-EMDR therapy, may also be helpful in treating addictions, such as gambling disorder (GD). In this study eight participants with GD received AF-EMDR therapy, using modules from Markus and Hornsveld’s Palette of EMDR Interventions in Addiction (PEIA). A multiple baseline design was used to investigate whether AF-EMDR therapy reduced gambling urge and increased
experienced self-control. Six weekly AF-EMDR sessions (treatment phase) were preceded by a 3- to 7-week non-treatment baseline phase. During both phases, participants kept a daily diary. Visual inspection as well as an interrupted time series analysis demonstrated mixed findings. Results showed that three participants experienced spontaneous recovery during the baseline period, two did not respond to treatment, and three others showed improvements during the EMDR phase. No adverse effects were noted. In sum, AF-EMDR therapy may have potential in the treatment of gambling addiction. However, more research is
needed regarding the efficacy, contra-indications, focus, and application as well as the optimal dose of AF-EMDR therapy using the PEIA modules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-60
JournalJournal of EMDR Practice and Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2020


  • gambling disorder
  • therapy


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