EMDR in older adults with posttraumatic stress disorder

Ellen Gielkens, Marja Vink, Sjacko Sobczak, Erlene Rosowsky, Bas Van Alphen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recognition of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in older adults is often difficult due to its complicated presentation. Once recognized, trauma symptoms can, in accordance with (inter)national guidelines, be successfully treated with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. However, limited empirical research has been done on the expression and treatment of PTSD in older adults. This article explains trauma and age in the context of psychotherapy. It discusses the interaction between age and pathology and summarizes the cognitive issues related to age, PTSD, and anxiety. It provides practical suggestions for how these can be addressed in treatment. Age-related challenges related to motivation are identified with practical suggestions for addressing them. The case illustrates the necessary additions and subtractions for older adults, with clear explanations and instructions. This article points the way for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-141
JournalJournal of EMDR Practice and Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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