An adult with childhood medical trauma treated with psychoanalytic psychotherapy and EMDR: a case study

Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2006 May;42(2):95-105. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6163.2006.00058.x.


Problem: Adverse childhood experiences have been found to be a strong predictor of emotional and physical problems in adulthood. However, the long-term sequelae for children who have suffered critical illness and exposure to invasive medical procedures are less well documented.

Methods: This is a case study of an adult client who sought treatment for depression and attention deficit disorder. The psychotherapy treatment is discussed and the use of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is described targeting a memory of a medical trauma resulting from a tonsillectomy when the client was 8 years old.

Conclusions: Significant healing outcomes were attained as a result of the therapy, i.e., decreased depression, less hypervigilance, and increased ability to concentrate, which resulted in the discontinuation of medication for depression and ADHD as well as significant improvement in overall functioning.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy
  • Child
  • Depression / therapy
  • Desensitization, Psychologic*
  • Eye Movements*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / methods*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*