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Tricia L. Teneycke is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Seattle.

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by chronic pain and fatigue. It notably impacts individuals and their families, creates notable opportunity costs for society, and places heavy demands on the medical system. Fibromyalgia has no cure. Its etiology is uncertain but likely biopsychosocial. In a subset of individuals experiencing Fibromyalgia, the experience of one or more traumatic experiences precipitates the onset of symptoms. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based treatment for traumatic stress injuries. None of the handful of published accounts of EMDR treatment of Fibromyalgia have utilized the standard evidenced-based, trauma-focused EMDR (TF-EMDR) protocol, opting instead for untested modifications of EMDR related protocols rendering generalization of effects across studies difficult at best. The current study explored whether the use of the TF-EMDR protocol was sufficient to reduce chronic physical and psychological symptoms of Fibromyalgia in three female participants. Standardized symptom measures of post-traumatic stress, depression, pain, and Fibromyalgia-specific symptoms were administered at pre, post, and 3-month follow-up. Results indicated a decrease in symptoms across all standardized symptom measures. Participants’ pain and symptoms of Fibromyalgia decreased, as did depression and trauma symptoms. Other results of treatment included: improved sleep, improved communication with loved ones, and improved sexual functioning. Treatment observations suggest TF-EMDR may help facilitate participants’ ability to: identify their emotions, observe the relationship between emotions and physical sensation, and observe (without trying to change) emotions and physical sensation. Results are promising and support the use of TF-EMDR in the treatment of Fibromyalgia patients with a history of trauma. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd

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