Consultant Psychiatrist in Learning Disability, Oxford University Medical Education Fellow, Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy, Level IV EMDR Therapist
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a structured, eight-phase psychotherapeutic approach, developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and unprocessed life experiences. EMDR is well known for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, modified protocols have been developed for the treatment of other anxiety and mood disorders specially if rooted from a traumatic experience in the past. People with intellectual disability (ID) are more likely to suffer from adverse experiences in their lives and psychiatric consequences are common among them. In addition, they are more likely to have difficulty in verbal communication which is a requirement in other psychological interventions but less in EMDR. These all point out towards EMDR as a potential adds-on tool in this group of clients. Unfortunately there is limited (but encouraging) published literature about the use of EMDR in people with ID. In this presentation, I will report a successful use of EMDR for the treatment of PTSD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in a 35 year old patient with moderate ID and then; use this to discuss the pros and cons of using EMDR for people with ID in a wider context.