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Book Review   |    
Extending EMDR: A Casebook of Innovative Applications
Donnah Nickerson-Réti, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 1999; doi:
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edited by Philip Manfield, Ph.D.; New York City, W. W. Norton, 1998, 292 pages, $37

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Evaluate the message, not the messenger. This tends to be my usual response when asked for my opinion of EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Much of what is written about EMDR theory and treatment is cloaked in the rhetoric of the proselytizing door-to-door salesman and leaves me wishing for something more inviting. Extending EMDR: A Casebook of Innovative Applications, edited by Philip Manfield, offers a fresh and intelligent delivery of both the process and the utility of a still-evolving but little-understood and underused treatment method.

Dr. Manfield's book offers a window into methods of incorporating EMDR into other therapeutic work with patients. He encourages a synthesizing use of EMDR techniques while maintaining the basic tenets of the theoretical frame through which the reader usually approaches doing therapy.

The book is a collection of case studies offered by writers from widely divergent theoretical backgrounds and experience, including classical psychoanalysis; object relations; ego and self psychology; Reichian, Jungian, and gestalt psychologies; cognitive-behavioral therapy; hypnotherapy; and Vipassana meditation. The contributors offer a wide range of therapies in public-sector, academic, and private-practice settings, and several have been EMDR trainers.

Each case begins with the writer's biographical declaration of his or her experience with patients, theoretical stance, and use of EMDR treatment and includes the writer's assessment of how well the various treatment strategies work in concert. In general, the contributors succeed in presenting some difficult and interesting cases and in synthesizing EMDR with other modalities to achieve beneficial results in treatment.

Although a casebook such as this is generally written for the therapist who already has experience using the method discussed, Dr. Manfield begins with a presentation of EMDR terms and a brief discussion of various techniques used in the therapy. His effort both to explain EMDR and to provide a context for the non-EMDR-trained clinician is helpful and appreciated, but of dubious value. It does not go far enough for the complete novice to make sense of the EMDR process, and it is not vital to those already skilled in the methodology. For a true appreciation of the creative and innovative work that Dr. Manfield and his colleagues offer here, one should have at least the equivalent of level 1 training in EMDR.

Overall, I found this to be a highly readable volume and recommend it to clinicians interested in using EMDR for an expanding range of patient concerns.

Dr. Nickerson-Réti is clinical instructor in psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.




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