What is EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) specifically targets traumatic or disturbing adverse life experiences. Because trauma is subjective, uses for EMDR vary by person and situation. For example, two people can be involved in a car accident and while one seems to experience no adverse emotional effects, the other may experience intense fear and distress following the accident.
Can EMDR be Used With Children?
Yes, EMDR can be used with children as young as two years of age and throughout development, even with those who are uncomfortable speaking aloud about the upsetting thoughts and feelings they are experiencing. EMDR has been used successfully to help children deal with traumatic events, depression, anxiety, phobias, and other behavioral problems. As with adults, the EMDR process is different for each child, because the healing process is guided from within.
Common Reactions to Trauma in Children:
- Acting Out
- Acting Younger – Regression
- Sleeping /Eating/Toileting Disturbances
- Inability to Focus or Concentrate
- Delays in Development – Not Making Milestones
- Symptoms of Attachment Disorder
- Inability to Self-Soothe
- Poor Social Skills – Withdrawal
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR is an evidenced-based psychotherapy developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1980’s. Often life’s difficult experiences are not encoded adaptively in the brain at the time of the event. These memories can then become triggered in the present. EMDR targets these past experiences, current triggers, and future potential challenges in order to alleviate presenting symptoms, decrease distress from the disturbing memory, improve the view of self, relieve bodily disturbances and resolve future anticipatory triggers. EMDR is commonly used in conjunction with Play Therapy for Children and adult psychotherapy in order to offer a comprehensive approach and to accelerate clinical treatment.