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

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Abstract

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new form of psychotherapy for post-traumatic symptoms of relevance to systemic therapists. The literature available on individual EMDR in traumatized children is reviewed in this article. A sample of eight studies was examined, consisting of three controlled trials, two uncontrolled studies and three case reports or series. The controlled trials compared EMDR with waiting list controls or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 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 CBT. It is therefore possible that systemic interventions may be improved by the integration of EMDR and family therapy with children and adolescents.

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