This article provides a comprehensive review of the challenges faced by chronically abused children and their treatment providers. The main aim of this pilot study was to explore whether chronically traumatized children, who presented as unable or unwilling to engage in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, could be prepared with the “Sleeping Dogs” method to complete EMDR therapy. The second aim was to determine whether there was sufficient reduction in posttraumatic stress symptoms to enable positive placement decisions. Participants were 14 children, age 3–9 years (M = 5.1), refusing to participate in EMDR therapy. All were living in residential care (n = 12) or with foster families (n = 2) and were considered stuck cases because of their severe problems. With the treatment package of “Sleeping Dogs” plus EMDR therapy, all children completed EMDR therapy in an average of 7.57 sessions leading to the resolution of all identified traumatic memories. At posttest, the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children showed a significant reduction of scores on the Intrusion and Depression subscales. Two thirds of the children (n = 8) who were in residential care at study onset were placed in foster families within 2 months after the last session, some even during treatment. This is the first study on the “Sleeping Dogs” method and even though the limited sample size and research design restricts generalization of results, the present findings suggest important directions for future study.
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Struik, A., Ensink, J. B. M., & Lindauer, R. J. L. (2017). I Won’t Do EMDR! The Use of the “Sleeping Dogs” Method to Overcome Children’s Resistance to EMDR Therapy. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 11(4), 166–180. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-318.104.22.168
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research