Trauma: Integrating play therapy and eye movement desensitization and deprocessing


Trauma has been documented for hundreds of years. Anyone can experience symptoms of trauma. Wamser-Nanney and Vandenberg (2013), discuss different types of trauma including, physical, sexual, domestic, medical, natural disaster, and terrorism violence. Symptoms from trauma can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a result from a traumatic event that occurred. It can alter the brain and leave long lasting psychological symptoms (Bremner, 2006). Treatment for PTSD has focused around using exposure or cognitive therapies to help clients work through their traumatic event. Beckley-Forset (2015), discussed using an alternative therapy to work with trauma. She integrated play therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, while working with a young child who experienced a traumatic event. Integrating play therapy and EMDR, gives the therapist and client flexibility. These therapies integrated a directive and non-directive approach to working with trauma. Trauma can be hard to describe or talk about. Play therapy provides the opportunity to play out or express their trauma without words. Using EMDR with the bilateral stimulation, help the brain reprocess and store the trauma without further triggering the client. The integration of these two approaches provides therapists with methods that meet the developmental needs of clients who have experienced trauma.






Theresa Odden

Original Work Citation



“Trauma: Integrating play therapy and eye movement desensitization and deprocessing,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 19, 2022,

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