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Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing in the treatment of trauma with mild intellectual disabilities: a case study

Richard Dilly (Advanced Healthcare Practitioner, based at National High Secure Learning Disability Service, Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 1 January 2014

424

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in an individual with mild intellectual disabilities currently compulsorily detained in secure care.

Design/methodology/approach

The intervention utilised the EMDR eight-phase protocolised psychotherapeutic approach. Sessions utilised symbol cards to explore the impact of the client's experiences in relation to his thoughts, emotional feelings, physical feelings and behaviour. Drawings were also utilised to assist the client to develop a picture of the traumatic incident. A “safe place visualisation technique” was also utilised at the end of every session to manage any distress. The Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS) with some minor adaptations for use with people with intellectual disabilities was utilised as a pre- and post-measure.

Findings

The study identified reductions in symptoms in all three core clinical subgroups of the PDS: re-experiencing, avoidance and arousal, with outcomes being maintained at one-month and six -month follow-up. Reduction in the strength of ratings was most evident in the avoidance domain.

Originality/value

There are limited studies exploring the effectiveness of EMDR with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to acknowledge the following people: Catrin Morrissey, Lead Psychologist, National High Secure Learning Disability Service, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Irene Brackenridge, Advanced Healthcare Practitioner, National High Secure Learning Disability Service, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

Citation

Dilly, R. (2014), "Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing in the treatment of trauma with mild intellectual disabilities: a case study", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 63-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-06-2013-0036

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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