Trauma-focused cognitive therapy has been shown to be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents after physical and sexual abuse but there are fewer treatments for children who have suffered a single, severe trauma such as a car accident. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been found to be effective in some cases of PTSD and a team of Australian researchers led by Michael Kemp from Murdoch University looked into EMDR in a study of 27 children aged between 6 and 12. The children were all suffering from persistent PTSD symptoms after a car accident. Half the participants were allotted to an EMDR group and the others were put on a waiting list. At the start of the study all of the children had two or more symptoms of PTSD but after treatment only 25% of the children in the EMDR group did compared to all those on the waiting list. However, the parents' rating of their children's PTSD symptoms showed no difference between the two groups and nor did other symptoms such as depression and anxiety. So, the jury is still out on EMDR as a therapy for this group of children.
Kemp, Michael, Drummond, Peter and McDermott, Brett - A wait-list controlled pilot study of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) for children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms from motor vehicle accidents Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry January 2010, 15(1), 5-25