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  • Writer's picturetraceymbrittain

EMDR treatment for Children and Young teenagers

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Empowering Children and Young People with EMDR

Trauma impacts people of all ages and backgrounds. When young children and adolescents suffer from the impact of trauma, it can be very frightening - for them and their loved ones. No matter how much you try to comfort your child, they seem unreachable once triggered. Worse still, you don’t understand what is triggering them - and often they don’t know either. If this rings true for you, EMDR may be the right solution.

Trauma Responses in Small Children and Adolescents

Like adults, small children and young people respond to trauma in various ways. It may manifest itself through bursts of anger, crying spells, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, panic attacks, shutting down, the avoidance of certain places or situations, and more. If a young person in your life is struggling with trauma, you naturally want to help them to heal. Without understating the underlying issues, however, healing may not be possible.

What’s Really Going On

Our brains are a social organ, built for connection to one another. When a child or young person begins to exhibit behavior tied to trauma, we naturally want to comfort them. Trauma responses, however, are linked to an individual’s survival response. When the body and mind sense danger, the cognitive brain shuts down, and the survival brain kicks in. This can happen in less than a second. Because many small children and youths aren’t aware of their triggers, there is no defense against this process. Once they have gone into survival mode, attempts to provide comfort via language alone are often futile.

Retraining the Brain with EMDR

Because triggers and survival responses occur so quickly, we have to find a way to uncover the underlying trauma and allow the sufferer to heal. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) helps small children and young people access traumatic memories in conjunction with guided eye movements and guided instructions. This helps the child to reprocess their memories and repair the mental and emotional injury from the event.

You can see a video from the EMDR association that explains EMDR well.

A Safe Space for Children and Adolescents

EDMR is an effective treatment for any age group, but small children and adolescents require extra care. Children are the products of their environment and their culture. Although a child or young person may enter therapy alone, they bring with them the “ghosts” of their parents, siblings, extended family, and community, including unspoken family rules that they must comply with. For successful treatment, the child, adolescent, or teen must feel safe and comfortable with their therapist. This is accomplished through:

  • Validation: In many cases, a child has seen numerous therapists before they get to us. It’s important to validate their feelings of skepticism or feelings of suspicion.

  • Acknowledgement: Sometimes, therapy feels awkward or uncomfortable. We acknowledge our own feelings, so that child and adolescent patients feel comfortable owning theirs.

  • Mutual Respect: EMDR is not a typical doctor-patient relationship. Instead, it’s focused on equality in the relationship. We never try to influence people but rather treat them as unique individuals with their own way of looking at the world.

  • Teamwork: As equals, we can work together to go back in time and solve the mystery of the event of origin so that we can remove its power and transform the child’s life.

If you have been typing teen therapy near me or children therapist near me into google then you have come to the right place. Tracey Brittain Therapy boasts the finest child psychotherapists in the UK, renowned for their exceptional proficiency in EDMR and brainspotting techniques.

Learn more about how EDMR could improve your child’s life by contacting us today.

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