Integrating EMDR and family therapy: Treating the traumatized child



When children experience a traumatic event, the effect on them can be profound. The child's reactions to and understanding of the trauma are strongly influenced by the attitudes and responses of his or her parents (Tinker & Wilson, 1999). After the trauma, children need to feel secure and to perceive their parents as strong and protective, as capably coping with the after effects. Consequently, it is imperative to engage the parents in the treatment of their traumatized child because they are the child's greatest support in the healing process. The integration of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR; Shapiro, 2001) and Structural Family Therapy (SFT) in a treatment process allows for healing on both the intrapersonal and the interpersonal levels (Siegel, 2002). Work with the after effects of a traumatic event is more focused and efficient when following clear therapeutic stages. A brief summary of these stages that include both trauma and family systems perspective is presented here, followed by case examples and a concluding discussion.


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Anita Bardin
Joel Comet
Deborah Porten

Original Work Citation

Bardin, A., Comet, J., & Porten, D. (2007). Integrating EMDR and family therapy: Treating the traumatized child. In F. Shapiro, F. W. Kaslow, & L. Maxfield (Eds.), Handbook of EMDR and family therapy processes (pp. 325-343). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc



“Integrating EMDR and family therapy: Treating the traumatized child,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 29, 2022,

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