Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Theodore Bartholomew

Reader 2

Jennifer Ma


Typically used as a trauma therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) may be a promising intervention for chronic pain, given the relationship (and rates of comorbidity) between chronic pain and post-traumatic stress (PTS). The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate how EMDR therapy might best be implemented as an integrated treatment for chronic pain among individuals with post-traumatic stress symptoms. This study will be the first of its kind to directly compare the standard trauma-focused (TF) EMDR treatment to a popular emerging pain-focused (PF) EMDR treatment modification (Grant, 2000). This study will utilize a matched-participants design and random assignment to one of three experimental conditions (standard TF-EMDR, PF-EMDR, treatment-as-usual [TAU] waitlist control) to compare outcomes on pain severity and PTS symptom severity among patients across three time points (baseline, post-test, 6-month follow up). Although both EMDR interventions are expected to produce a reduction in pain severity and PTS symptom severity, PF-EMDR is expected to be more effective at reducing pain severity than both TF-EMDR and TAU, while TF-EMDR is expected to be slightly more effective at reducing PTS symptom severity. In addressing an understudied subject, the findings of this study might allow academics and care providers alike to better understand and/or implement the version of EMDR that will best serve individuals given their positionalities and needs, leading to increasingly effective treatment of chronic pain in the future.