Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Psychosis is a mental illness where those affected hear things that others may not be able to hear, and believe things that others find hard to believe. The suggested therapy is called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is known to be safe and work well in treating disorders clearly linked to trauma such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Psychosis is understood to be linked with trauma in a similar way to PTSD but this therapy has not been tested for how well it works in this illness. We hope to offer people with psychosis a new brief therapy treatment to reduce the impact of previous difficult or traumatic experiences.
Who can participate?
This study is open to patients who are known to suffer from psychosis and normally have support from the psychiatric services locally.
What does the study involve?
12 patients will be randomly allocated to not receive treatment but continue their normal care with the psychiatric services (treatment as usual). They will be offered the treatment at the end of the study. 24 patients will be randomly allocated to have the EMDR treatment. Everybody will have an interview with a researcher before and after the treatment period, as well 6 months after treatment. At these interviews patients will be assessed on measurement scales that test for the impact of previous traumatic events, the symptoms of psychosis and PTSD, and a measurement of their quality of life.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
We hope to see that patients who receive this treatment have improvements in their symptoms of mental health problems as well as their quality of life. The potential risks of participating include the general risks of participating in a one-to-one therapy. These include increased distress and worsening of symptoms due to the process as well as not getting on with the therapist. These risks will be modified by providing patients with resources and skills to prepare for the treatment including use of relaxation exercises. There is a risk that the patient finds the process difficult and distressing but this risk will be modified by ensuring there is a thorough consent process, recruitment involves the awareness that the therapy is about treating previous traumatic experiences / memories, and the ensuring that patients are briefed about the EMDR therapeutic process before commencing.
Where is the study run from?
The study will be run from Cornwall Foundation NHS Trust (UK) sites. The trust is based at Shaw House, Porthpean Road, St Austell, Cornwall. Bases will include local Community Mental Health Team bases including Trevillis House, Liskeard; Elfordleigh, Launceston; East Resource Centre, Bude; Alexandra House, St Austell; Banham House, Bodmin; Newquay Resource Centre (Roswyth), Newquay; Pydar Street, Truro; Trengweath, Redruth; and Bolitho House, Penzance.
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
January 2015 to January 2017.
Who is funding the study?
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Dr Simon Marlow
Dr Simon Marlow
Trengweath Mental Health Unit
The use of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) for the treatment of psychosis
We hypothesise that a providing EMDR therapy to patients with psychosis will lead to an improvement in the negative impact of a traumatic event, and subsequent improvements in the symptoms of psychosis, quality of life, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
South West - Cornwall & Plymouth Research Ethics Committee, 05/05/2015, ref: 15/SW/0034
Exploratory randomised control study of the treatment effectiveness of EMDR therapy in people with psychosis.
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Mental Health Difficuties
Patients are randomised to two groups:
1. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy: A course of 8 x 90 minute sessions.
2. The control group will have Treatment As Usual.
Primary outcome measure
Impact of Events Scale (IES) measured at baseline, then after 10 weeks (to allow for the up to 8 week therapy course to complete) and then after 6 months from baseline.
Secondary outcome measures
1. Positive and Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia Scale (PANSS)
2. Subjective Quality of Life (MANSA)
3. PTSD Checklist (PCL)
The measures will be done at baseline, then after 10 weeks (to allow for the up to 8 week therapy course to complete) and then after 6 months from baseline.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
Patients with a psychotic illness without comorbid PTSD currently receiving care from secondary care psychiatric services between the ages of 18-65.
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
Having a severe learning difficulty, being unable to speak English or travel to the appointments. Having a serious concern about risk or being placed in a locked psychiatric unit.
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Trengweath Mental Health Unit
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (UK) - Research and Development Team
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication in a high-impact peer reviewed journal.
IPD sharing statement
The data sharing plans for the current study are unknown and will be made available at a later date.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
To be made available at a later date
Basic results (scientific)