Using EMDR with children


Last year over 3 million children were exposed to physical and sexual abuse, andor community and domestic violence (based on conservative estimates. Of these, approximately 1 million will require mental health, medical and educational services related to PTSD symptoms. The present workshop will make extensive use of videotaped sessions to illustrate the effectiveness of EMDR with traumatized children and children who exhibit symptomatology related to the major psychiatric syndromes exhibited in childhood. General considerations in using EMDR with children will be covered. Issues related to client safety during EMDR will be illustrated with a tape of a 10-year-old boy who was traumatized by physical abuse and his inability to protect his younger brothers. Standard protocols for use with children will be demonstrated by videotape, ranging from protocols appropriate for eight-year-olds and older; to those appropriate for most five- to eight-year-olds; and finally to those appropriate for children less than five. For example, nightmares are often a target of choice for young children, and this will be illustrated with a video of a four-year-old boy resolving a nightmare image. Diagnostic issues in using EMDR with children will also be covered. A majority of children referred for psychotherapy are referred for abuse (physical and sexual) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). An overview of ADHD will be provided, with a discussion of how these-symptoms often overlap with PTSD symptomatology, causing diagnostic difficulties. Videotapes and overheads will be used in case presentations. The effects of divorce on children will be adumbrated, along with developmental considerations. Again, videos will be used to amplify the discussion. The effects of physical and sexual abuse on children, and how EMDR can be helpful with these children will be another major topic for consideration. Videos illustrating this process will be presented. PTSD in children will be examined, along with developmental considerations, and illustrated by videotape. If possible, footage from children traumatized by the bombing in Oklahoma City, will be included. Other videos could include using EMDR with a four-year-old child who was in an automobile accident, whose behavior continued to be impaired six months later, and a youth who accidentally shot and killed his younger cousin. Childhood disorders following bereavement will also be discussed and illustrated via videotape. References will be provided.






Robert Tinker

Original Work Citation

Tinker, R. (1996, June). Using EMDR with children. Presentation at the 1st EMDR International Association Conference, Denver, CO



“Using EMDR with children,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 3, 2020,

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