Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): A novel application for persons with dementia (PWD) and their care partners (CP)

Description

Background:
EMDR is a brain-based standardized psychotherapy protocol that utilizes bilateral stimulation (BLS) to relieve affective distress, reduce physiological arousal, and reformulate negative self-schema. BLS can be visual (eye movements), tactile (tapping), or auditory (tones). EMDR is accepted by many professional organizations including the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs as an effective treatment for ameliorating symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. The literature also demonstrates positive effects for other conditions including complicated grief/loss, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and stress-related symptoms arising from adverse life events. Furthermore, EMDR shows clinical promise in special populations such as those with intellectual disability, mild traumatic brain injury, and older adults demonstrating its potential efficacy with comprised brain functioning.

Methods:
The Memory Counseling Program atWake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, NC provides mental health services to PWD and their CPs using evidenced-based psychotherapeutic practices to address pre-existing, comorbid, or newly emerging mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and other stressrelated disorders. EMDR is particularly useful in managing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) for PWD, improving or preserving function for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and in facilitating healthy attachment bonds and managing chronic stress for CP.

Results:
At the MCP, EMDR has helped PWD by changing the content of ruminations, hallucinations, and delusions, thereby lessening agitation, aggression, and depression symptoms. Similarly, individuals with MCI and comorbid mental health issues have demonstrated improvement in cognitive testing and preservation in functioning over time after EMDR. Finally, EMDR has assisted CP in providing care in spite of lifelong conflict with PWD, in lessening symptoms related to anticipatory grief and chronic stress, and in addressing past adverse life events. Case examples will be provided.

Conclusions:
The utility of EMDR for PWD or their CPs is unexplored, but shows promising potential for mental health care. but may reduce stress and agitation, prevent or lessen the emergence of BPSD, and perhaps slow neurodegeneration. EMDR might also help CPs address past adverse life events, strengthen attachment and interpersonal relationships, and assists with complicated grief.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Alyssa Botte Samantha Lynn Culler Maryjo Cleveland Christina E. Hugenschmidt Kathryn Johanson Edward G. Shaw Cathy C. Wilson Mia Yang

Original Work Citation

Botte, A.,  Culler, S. L.,  Cleveland, M., Hugenschmidt, C. E.; Johanson, K.,  Shaw, E. G., ... & Yang, M. (2018, July). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): A novel application for persons with dementia (PWD) and their care partners (CP). Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, 14(7), P1328-P1328. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.1902

Collection

Citation

“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): A novel application for persons with dementia (PWD) and their care partners (CP),” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/25804.

Output Formats