Trauma and trauma therapy (EMDR) in people with ID


Aim: People with ID might be particularly vulnerable to significant life events and at high risk to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the general population EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-based trauma treatment method. On small-scale EMDR is used in people with ID and seems to be efficacious and not placing a load on clients. However research on PTSD and EMDR in this population is missing so has to be done. Method: Research on the relationship between life events en mental health problems in people with ID is listed and analysed. The findings are compared with the outcomes of single case studies on clients with ID, treated with EMDR.

Results: Correlational and retrospective analyses of case files consistently show an association between life events on one hand and behaviour problems and depression on the other hand. The only prospective study that is found indicates a causal relationship. EMDR treatment effects also suggest a causal relationship between mental health problems and being exposed to overwhelming events. Conclusions: Further research is necessary to develop evidence based assessment and treatment procedures for people with ID who suffer from complaints due to traumatic experiences.






Liesbeth Mevissen-Renckens

Original Work Citation

Mevissen-Renckens, L. (2008, August). Trauma and trauma therapy (EMDR) in people with ID. Symposium presented at the 13th World Congress of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities, Cape Town, South Africa



“Trauma and trauma therapy (EMDR) in people with ID,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 21, 2021,

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