What do the children say? Traumatised children’s experience of EMDR therapy


This study explored experiences of children treated with Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The research aimed to understand more about salient aspects of the therapy such as needing therapy, parent support, the relationship with the therapist and the impact of the EMDR. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nine children across England and Scotland, aged 10 to 16 years who had completed EMDR therapy within the past two years. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to elucidate the participants’ understanding of the effect of the EMDR therapy on their recovery from PTSD. Three super-ordinate themes are identified which describe how the participants engaged in the therapy, were assisted to keep going and what they made of EMDR. Results suggest that difficulties in engaging in the therapy were overcome by determination to get better, support of family and friends, the credibility of the therapist and starting to feel better after about two sessions. EMDR was perceived as an effective therapy despite initial scepticism, and an approach that generally did not require a conscious effort by the participant to make it work. Findings are related to neurobiological hypotheses concerning underlying neurological mechanisms for the resolution of traumatic memories. Practical implications fro improving clinical practice with children and families will be presented.






Ruth Armstrong

Original Work Citation

Armstrong, R. (2008, June). What do the children say? Traumatised children?s experience of EMDR therapy. Presentation at the 9th EMDR Europe Association Conference, London, England




“What do the children say? Traumatised children’s experience of EMDR therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 18, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/18269.

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