EMDR is often referred to as trauma-based therapy, as it has primarily been applied to persons who have been psychologically traumatized. It is thus, effective with children, adolescents and young people suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), as well as, Anxiety and Depression related to any psychological trauma.
EMDR is effective with children, adolescents and young people with:
The goal of EMDR is to help the children, adolescents and young people learn from the past negative experiences that bother the person, desensitize present situations that further distress the person, and then change the negative thoughts and emotions attached to these events. All this is done using bilateral stimulation like eye movements or hand tapping. In the case of children, along with eye movements or hand tapping, creative techniques like drawing or other means are also used.
EMDR is an effective procedure that involves 8 phases for complete treatment. The number of sessions devoted to each phase differs from client to client. The first step involves taking a clear history so that the problem can be diagnosed accurately and then the treatment can be planned according to that. The second step is to introduce to the EMDR procedures to the child, so that he/she is comfortable doing the same. In the third step the professional tries to elicit the traumatic experiences from the child and the negative emotions and feelings attached to them. Then the child is desensitized from these events by addressing the child's disturbing emotions, using the bilateral stimulation. This is followed by the clinician trying to change these negative cognitions, and replacing them with more positive insights. When this is successful, the child is checked for any tension that he/she might be still experiencing in any part of his body. If no such tension is found, the sessions are ended, with revising over what has been done through the sessions and also asking the child if there are any queries or other problems that the child might want to discuss.
There are many advantages of using EMDR therapy with children, adolescents and young people who might be suffering from some traumatic experience.
The effectiveness of EMDR, an APA (USA) approved scientific technique, can be ascertained after a few sessions itself (rapid onset of improvement).
Also, the EMDR is quite a simple task for the child. Since the changes occur automatically, and in a non volitional manner, it makes it comparatively easier to use with children (child friendly), as compared to other therapies.
In the case of children, even parent(s) can participate in the sessions, as it is generally of a non threatening nature to the parent(s), as well as, the child.
Although, at times the child might not be capable of handling the intense emotions that can come up during the sessions, soothing and self soothing approaches, and other therapeutic techniques can be used along with EMDR.
Our centre (CCAW) provides EMDR treatment for a variety of psychological or emotional disturbances in children, adolescents and young people. In Dr.Deepak Gupta's experience, this mode of treatment has provided positive results with a wide range of clients, especially when other treatment methods have proved to be less effective.
Dr. Deepak Gupta