Is EMDR an effective treatment for people diagnosed with both intellectual disability and post-traumatic stress disorder?
This study aimed to critically review all studies that have set out to evaluate the use of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) for people diagnosed with both intellectual disability (ID) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Searches of the online databases Psych Info, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, The Cochrane Database of Randomized Control Trials, CINAHL, ASSIA and Medline were conducted. Five studies are described and evaluated. Key positive points include the high clinical salience of the studies and their high external validity. Several common methodological criticisms are highlighted, however, including difficulty in the definition of the terms ID and PTSD, lack of control in design and a lack of consideration of ethical implications. Overall, the articles reviewed indicate cause for cautious optimism about the utility of EMDR with this population. The clinical and research implications of this review are discussed.