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Some observations on remote delivery of eye‐movement desensitisation and reprocessing to people with intellectual disabilities
Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, Volume: 20, Issue: 2
Swansea University Author: Paul Willner
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It is increasingly recognised that many people with intellectual disabilities suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) has been proposed as a potentially helpful intervention that is less reliant on verbal skills than other effective tre...
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It is increasingly recognised that many people with intellectual disabilities suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) has been proposed as a potentially helpful intervention that is less reliant on verbal skills than other effective treatments for PTSD and therefore could be more effective than verbal interventions for people with intellectual disabilities. The Trauma-AID project is a randomised clinical trial (RCT) evaluating the effectiveness of a bespoke EMDR protocol for adults with intellectual disability and PTSD, which incorporates a prolonged phase of Psycho-Education and Stabilisation (PES) prior to the trauma confrontation phase of EMDR. The COVID-19 pandemic struck during the feasibility phase of the Trauma-AID project, necessitating a second feasibility study to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of remote or hybrid delivery of the PES + EMDR protocol. To this end, we conducted two online surveys of therapists followed by interviews with clients, carers and senior therapists. The surveys were analysed descriptively. Content analysis was used for client and carer interviews, and framework analysis for therapist interviews. All stakeholders reported positive experiences of EMDR; however, some challenges were identified. The majority of clients, carers and therapists interviewed reported that the intervention, whether PES alone or the full PES-EMDR package, had improved symptoms of PTSD and psychological well-being, and carers also reported decreases in challenging behaviour. A full account of the data is provided in four Supplementary Digital files. PES-EMDR therapy appears both feasible and acceptable for clients with intellectual disabilities and therapists, whether delivered face-to-face or in a remote or hybrid mode, though remote working appears easier for the PES phase than the EMDR phase of the intervention.
acceptability, eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing, feasibility, hybrid delivery, intellectual disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, remote delivery
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Grant Number: 17/125/04