Sequence matters: Combining prolonged exposure and EMDR therapy for PTSD

A. Van Minnen, E.M. Voorendonk, L. Rozendaal, A. de Jongh

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Investigating the influence of the sequence in which two evidence-based trauma-focused treatments are offered to PTSD-patients. Methods: PTSD-patients were treated using an intensive eight-day treatment program, combining Prolonged Exposure (PE) and EMDR therapy. Forty-four patients received a PE session in the morning and an EMDR session in the afternoon, while 62 patients received the reversed sequence (EMDR followed by PE). Outcome measures were PTSD symptom severity and subjective experiences. Results: Patients who received PE first and EMDR second showed a significantly greater reduction in PTSD symptoms. Patients preferred this sequence and valued the treatment sessions as significantly more helpful compared to patients in the EMDR-first condition. Conclusion: The results of this explorative study are supportive of the notion that PE and EMDR therapy can be successfully combined, and that sequence matters. First applying PE sessions before EMDR sessions resulted in better treatment outcome, and better subjective patient's evaluations in terms of treatment helpfulness and preference.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113032
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


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