This article provides three case descriptions to demonstrate the use of the “Sleeping Dogs” method to engage children who initially refused to participate in EMDR therapy. The metaphor “sleeping dogs” refers to traumatic memories that children refuse to or cannot discuss; by waking up the “sleeping dogs,” traumatic memories become accessible and treatable. Children in the cases discussed displayed severe symptoms and refused to discuss memories of traumatic experiences. All resided in a residential facility and their symptoms were preventing transition into foster care. Case 1 (age 6) displayed increasingly violent behavior. He witnessed his father kill his mother and was the crown witness in his father’s trial, which isolated him from his family. Case 2 (age 3), was abused by her biological family, and experienced foster placement breakdown. Case 3 (age 6) was abused by her mother, yet idolized her and denied past abuse. This article describes how the Sleeping Dogs method was applied in each case, created stabilization, and led to engagement in EMDR, in which trauma memories were processed. After treatment all children transitioned into foster care. The cases demonstrate the benefits of involving (extended) family members, even when they have abused or neglected the child and may have little or no contact with them, and when reunification is no option. The implications for utilizing the Sleeping Dogs method to engage chronically traumatized children in trauma-focused therapy are discussed.
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Copyright © 2018 EMDR International Association
Struik, A. (2018). The Sleeping Dogs Method to Overcome Children’s Resistance to EMDR Therapy: A Case Series. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 12(4), 224–241. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3126.96.36.199
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research