EMDR treatment for PTSD and intellectual disability: A case study


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed description of an adapted Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) intervention in the treatment of chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in an individual with moderate-severe Intellectual Disability (ID), blindness, and Mucopolysaccharidosis Hunters Syndrome.

Design/methodology/approach – A case study reporting on the implementation of an eight phase EMDR approach adapted for intellectual and sensory requirements. The intervention involved a series of preparatory meetings and four sessions of EMDR. Findings – The intervention was successful in ameliorating most symptoms attributed to a PTSD presentation.

Research limitations/implications – The availability of the full breadth of treatment options for PTSD as indicated in National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2005) is questionable in clinical practice with individuals with ID. Appropriate investment in research determining the most efficacious interventions for this clinical population is required.

Originality/value – This case study addresses issues of complexity in respect of the assessment and treatment of trauma in an ID population. It raises a number of important social/research questions in addition to providing a high level of detail in regard to the adaptations required






Alastair L. Barrowcliff
Gemma A. L. Evans

Original Work Citation

Barrowcliff, A. L., & Evans, G. A. L.  (2015). EMDR treatment for PTSD and intellectual disability: A case study.  Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 9(2), C92-98.  doi:10.1108/AMHID-09-2014-0034



“EMDR treatment for PTSD and intellectual disability: A case study,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 3, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/23163.

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