Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing as a therapeutic intervention for traumatized children and adolescents: a systematic review of the evidence for family therapists

FIELD Annalisa, COTTRELL David
Journal article citation:
Journal of Family Therapy, 33(4), November 2011, pp.374-388.

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) was developed by Francine Shapiro and is designed to resolve the development of trauma-related disorders caused by exposure to distressing events. It is a relatively new form of psychotherapy and of relevance to systemic therapists. This article reviews the current literature on individual EMDR in traumatised children. Eight existing studies were examined, consisting of three controlled trials, two uncontrolled studies and three case reports. The controlled trials compared EMDR with waiting list controls or cognitive behavioural therapy. Findings revealed that the study samples were small, and their methodological quality variable. In all the studies, the results suggested a positive effect for EMDR but did not appear superior to cognitive behavioural therapy. The authors concluded that systemic interventions may be improved by the integration of EMDR and family therapy with children and young people.

Subject terms:
post traumatic stress disorder, young people, behaviour therapy, children, family therapy;
Content type:
research review
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