Using EMDR to treat PTSD in preadolescent children


This paper will describe the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in preadolescent children using Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR has shown to bring rapid relief in adults with PTSD, Studies are begining to show that it can also be useful in work with young children. However, the standard protocol requires some adjustment. In addition, in situation where children have complex difficulties in addition to PTSD, EMDR may need to be used alongside other interventions within a complex treatment package. Method: This study describes brief work carried out with 4 preadolescent children with PTSD. Three of these children had receive no treatment in spite of suffering from significant and chronic symptoms ofr years. One had suffered a traumatic bereavement. All had additional problems that required intervention. EMDR was used as part of a comprehensive treatment package. Results: In all cases, the children's PTSD symptoms resolved within 2-4 sessions of EMDR. The maximum total number of sessions was 7. The children's symptomatic improvements were maintained at 6 month follow-up. Comment: EMDR can be adapted for use with preadolescent children. It can povide rapid and lasting symptomatic relief. EMDR can be a useful part of a multi-modal treatment package for young childen with PTSD and additional mental health problems.






Guinevere Tufnell

Original Work Citation

Tufnell. G. (2004, February). Using EMDR to treat PTSD in preadolescent children. Presentation at the 2nd EMDR Association UK & Ireland Annual Conference, Birmingham, UK



“Using EMDR to treat PTSD in preadolescent children,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 26, 2020,

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