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Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Trauma: A Review of Randomized Controlled Trials with Children and Adolescents


This article examines the methodological rigor of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) conducted specifically with children and adolescents who had a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder and history of trauma. A thorough search for RCTs of EMDR with children and adolescents that were published between 1998 and 2010 was conducted utilizing several databases. A total of five studies were identified. Following an extensive review of the literature, it became apparent that the number of RCTs conducted with EMDR with children and adolescents was negligible, though initial results suggest that it is a promising practice. Although current EMDR studies have been conducted with children and adolescents, and have indicated that EMDR is a promising practice, the state of knowledge at this point is insufficient. EMDR tends to produce less positive results when compared to other trauma-focused interventions, although some research indicates the opposite.

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Correspondence to Laura R. Greyber.

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Greyber, L.R., Dulmus, C.N. & Cristalli, M.E. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Trauma: A Review of Randomized Controlled Trials with Children and Adolescents. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 29, 409–425 (2012).

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  • Eye movement desensitization reprocessing
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Child and adolescent trauma