Date of Conferral
Child sexual abuse is prevalent worldwide and can result in adverse psychological effects that persist into adulthood. Therapists must identify therapeutic treatments for adult survivors of child sexual abuse who continue to experience psychological difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of therapists about eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) as a tool to assist adult women survivors of child sexual abuse through the healing process and to regain their abilities to function and behave appropriately. Data were collected through the Moustakas Theory (1994) with 10 therapists who provided therapeutic or counseling services (or both) through EMDR to women with a history of repeated sexual abuse as children. The therapists perceived EMDR as more effective in treating child sexual abuse trauma than other treatment options because it involved the body and worked rapidly, although the treatment may involve a danger of dysregulating the patient. Results indicated the perceived role of EMDR in a treatment program is to allow patients to remember traumatic events without reliving them and to free patients from shame and prepare them to learn more effective coping skills. The therapists implemented EMDR by building rapport, conducting a thorough assessment, focusing treatment on the most distressing elements of past traumas and present triggers, and teaching the client skills for coping with distress. This study contributes to social change by adding more knowledge and awareness about women survivors of child sexual abuse and the various available treatments, thereby helping the long-term impact of women's health with histories of childhood sexual abuse.