This article seeks to address the underrepresented area of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment for sexually abused children. It presents the child-centered EMDR approach–a new protocol derived from Klaff (2016). This approach is built on Shapiro’s Adaptive Information Processing model and assumes that a successful outcome can be achieved without directly processing memories of the abuse since children have the ability to open channels of association to uncover, process, and resolve emotional trauma relating to the abuse. Instead of focusing on traumatic memories, the treatment targets whatever current concerns the child presents, as it is thought that these concerns may provide a pathway to covert and possibly unconscious issues. This approach is tested with a case study, which explores its use with a 9-year-old girl who presented with emotional triggers originating from sexual abuse by her biological father. She received six sessions addressing memories of being taunted by other children and of her father using drugs, but her memories of the sexual abuse were not directly addressed. Following treatment, her scores on the Child Report of Post-Traumatic Symptoms (CROPS) and Parent Report of Post-Traumatic Symptoms (PROPS) decreased to nonclinical levels, with results maintained 2 months later at follow-up. The promising results suggest the value of future research to further test this approach.
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Copyright © 2018 EMDR International Association
Swinden, C. (2018).The Child-Centered EMDR Approach: A Case Study Investigating a Young Girl’s Treatment for Sexual Abuse. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 12(4), 282–296. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-318.104.22.1682
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research