Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing for Children and Adolescents With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Narrative Review
There is currently a limited number of studies into the efficacy of eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy with children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study utilizes a systematic narrative review of methodologies and findings of previous literature reviews and meta-analyses as well as analyzing randomized control trials (RCTs) conducted from 2002 to 2018. Following initial scoping of the extent of studies, two systematic literature searches were conducted, firstly for literature reviews and secondly for recent RCTs. Nine databases were utilized. Eight reviews and seven RCTs were identified and analyzed for quality of methodology and outcome as measured by impact on PTSD symptoms. EMDR was found to be efficacious in reducing children's PTSD symptoms compared to waitlist conditions, with similar outcomes to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). EMDR was effective with both single-event trauma as well as cumulative trauma such as sexual abuse. EMDR was equally effective with girls and boys as well as children from different cultures. EMDR achieved medium to large effect sizes. Reductions in PTSD were maintained at 2-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up. In conclusion, EMDR was consistently found to be an efficacious treatment for children with PTSD. Recommendations are made for future practice and research.