Open Access EMDR Versus CBT for Children With Self-Esteem and Behavioral Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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This study compared eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) with cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT). Twenty-six children (average age 10.4 years) with behavioral problems were randomly assigned to receive either 4 sessions of EMDR or CBT prior to usual treatment provided in outpatient and inpatient clinics. To evaluate the effectiveness of treatment, parents and mentors completed a wide variety of self-report instruments and behavioral measures, and the children completed self-assessment instruments prior to therapy, directly after completion of therapy, and at 6-month follow-up. EMDR and CBT were found to have significant positive effects on behavioral and self-esteem problems. Although the differences between treatment effectiveness for EMDR and CBT were small, the children who originally received EMDR showed significantly larger changes in target behaviors than those in the CBT group. The results support the use of EMDR, focused on the desensitization of a series of meaningful memories, to produce significantly positive and sustained effects on children's self-esteem and related problems.
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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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