EMDR for children and adolescents with trauma and adverse childhood experiences: A scoping review


"Traumatic experiences are correlated with negative impacts on children and adolescents (Beer, 2018; Bright et al., 2016; Dugal et al., 2016; Ray et al., 2020). Specifically, those with trauma backgrounds are at high risk for developing trauma symptomatology and sustaining the symptomatology into adulthood (Simsek & Evrensel, 2018). The World Health Organization (2013) recommends two main advanced treatment interventions aimed at treating children and adolescents with trauma histories: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). The focus of this dissertation was on the EMDR treatment approach for children and adolescents. A scoping review methodological approach was chosen to examine the existing literature, to identify the available evidence for EMDR with children who experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences, to identify key characteristics related to this topic, and to identify and analyze the knowledge gaps. The scoping review aimed to understand the research question: “to what extent does the literature support the effectiveness of EMDR for children and adolescents with trauma and adverse childhood experiences?” The results of this scoping review indicate that EMDR is an effective intervention for children and adolescents with a history of traumatic exposure that occurred over a single incident or over multiple incidents. The trauma can also be either interpersonal or non-interpersonal in nature. Additionally, EMDR is effective for children and adolescents that meet full criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current research had some limitations such as small sample sizes and other methodological concerns as well as omission of key details about the traumatic events. The results were compiled into a data map which will allow clinicians to easily access the information when making treatment decisions for their young patients. Future research should focus on utilizing EMDR treatment for children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds, with varying levels, frequency, and types of traumas."






Stephanie Lyn Adamowicz



“EMDR for children and adolescents with trauma and adverse childhood experiences: A scoping review,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 25, 2024, https://francineshapirolibrary.omeka.net/items/show/29216.

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