EMDR – psychotherapy in posttraumatic stress syndrome in young people


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a new psychotherapeutic method aimed at processing memories of traumatic events, thereby ameliorating the psychological consequences of these memories. EMDR involves elements from several different psychological approaches. It is uncertain which of the treatment elements are effective. Clients with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the main target group for EMDR treatment. Although both children and adults have been treated with EMDR, this document is aimed particularly at children and adolescents.

Patient Benefits, Risks, and Side Effects Published studies of EMDR mainly cover adults with PTSD. There are two randomized and controlled studies, one of which has yet to be published, of EMDR treatment in 47 children and adolescents. One of the studies suggests that EMDR yields a better treatment outcome in the short term compared to the control treatment (active listening). In the second study, no significant difference was found between EMDR treatment in combination with standard treatment and standard treatment alone as regards reduction in avoidance and invading thoughts. However, the PTSD symptom of behavioral disorders declined significantly in the EMDR group. Furthermore, numerous case studies suggest that EMDR has a positive treatment effect in children and adolescents with PTSD. No harmful effects have been reported.






Kerstin Bergh Johannesson

Original Work Citation

Johannesson, K. B. (2001, April). EMDR ? psychotherapy in posttraumatic stress syndrome in young people. Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment in Health Care (SBU), Stockholm, Sweden



“EMDR – psychotherapy in posttraumatic stress syndrome in young people,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 3, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/21276.

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