Childhood trauma can have lasting effects on a person's mental health and wellbeing. Clinical practitioners are increasingly turning to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a safe and effective way to help children and adolescents manage the effects of traumatic experiences. In this blog post, we'll explore the clinical application of EMDR in treating childhood trauma and discuss the benefits it can provide to young minds.

Understanding EMDR and Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can have a profound impact on a person's emotional and developmental well-being. It can manifest in a variety of ways, such as behavioral issues, ADHD, attachment difficulties, and even dissociation. These experiences can deeply affect a child's ability to form healthy relationships, regulate their emotions, and feel safe in the world.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach that has gained recognition for its effectiveness in treating trauma, including childhood trauma. EMDR aims to help individuals process distressing memories and experiences that have become stuck or unprocessed in the brain. This therapy works by utilizing bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, to facilitate the brain's natural healing processes.

Benefits of Using EMDR with Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescents who have experienced trauma can greatly benefit from the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This approach offers unique advantages for young minds, allowing them to heal and build resilience in a safe and supportive environment.
One of the key benefits of EMDR for children and adolescents is its non-intrusive nature. Unlike traditional talk therapies, EMDR focuses on accessing and processing traumatic memories without requiring the child to verbally recount the details of their experiences. This can be especially helpful for young clients who may struggle to express themselves or have difficulty verbalizing their emotions.

Another advantage of EMDR is its ability to target the root causes of distress. Through bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or other forms of rhythmic stimulation, EMDR helps children and adolescents reprocess and integrate traumatic memories into their existing networks. This allows them to form new associations and narratives around their experiences, ultimately leading to a reduction in symptoms and an increase in overall well-being.

EMDR also provides young clients with a sense of control and empowerment. By actively participating in their healing process, children and adolescents can develop a greater understanding of their emotions and learn effective coping strategies to manage future challenges. EMDR helps them regain a sense of agency and resilience, promoting long-term emotional growth and recovery.

Preparing for EMDR Therapy with Young Clients

Preparing for EMDR therapy with young clients is an essential step towards ensuring a safe and effective healing process. Here are some important considerations for practitioners when working with children and adolescents:

  1. Building rapport: Establishing a trusting relationship is crucial. Take the time to connect with the young client, understand their unique needs, and create a safe and supportive environment. Encourage open communication and validate their experiences.
  2. Psychoeducation: Educate the young client and their caregivers about the EMDR process. Explain what to expect during therapy sessions, including the use of eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation. Provide age-appropriate information and address any concerns or misconceptions they may have.
  3. Assessing readiness: Determine if the child or adolescent is ready for EMDR therapy. Assess their emotional stability, cognitive ability, and capacity for self-regulation. It may be necessary to build foundational skills, such as emotion regulation or coping strategies, before proceeding with EMDR.
  4. Safety planning: Collaborate with the young client and their support system to create a safety plan. This plan should outline strategies for managing distress, identifying triggers, and seeking support outside of therapy sessions.
  5. Tailoring the approach: Adapt the EMDR protocol to meet the specific needs of the young client. Consider their developmental stage, cultural background, and individual preferences. Incorporate age-appropriate activities, such as play or creative expression, to engage and facilitate the healing process.

Phases of EMDR Therapy for Children and Adolescents

EMDR therapy for children and adolescents typically follows a structured set of phases to ensure a comprehensive healing process. These phases provide a roadmap for practitioners to guide young clients through their journey towards recovery.
The first phase, history taking and treatment planning, focuses on building rapport, establishing trust, and educating both the young client and their caregivers about the EMDR process. It is important to ensure that the child or adolescent feels safe and supported before proceeding to the next phase.

The second phase is preparation or as we like to call it "resourcing". This ensures your child is able to bring their nervous system back into equilibrium after thinking about a distressing event. this is where we teach all the great coping skills to help them regulate when triggered.
The third phase, assessment, involves identifying and prioritizing the traumatic memories or experiences that will be targeted during therapy. This includes understanding the associated emotions, beliefs, and physical sensations that arise when these memories are recalled.
The fourth phase, desensitization, is the core component of EMDR therapy. Here, bilateral stimulation techniques are used to facilitate the reprocessing of traumatic memories. These techniques may include eye movements, taps, or auditory stimulation.
The fifth stage installation, focuses on strengthening positive beliefs and emotions to replace negative or maladaptive ones. This phase helps young clients develop resilience and a sense of empowerment.
The six phase, body scan, involves assessing the client's physical sensations to ensure that all distress related to the traumatic memories has been resolved.
The seventh phase, closure, is aimed at bringing the therapy session to a positive conclusion. This includes ensuring the client feels grounded and safe, discussing any ongoing emotions or sensations, and setting goals for future sessions.

The final stage is re-evaluation, to ensure the entire memory or target was fully processed, meaning zero internal disturbance and that the body scan is clear. If scan is not clear- meaning there is still physical symptoms in response to thinking about the incident we start again at stage 4 or 5.

Tips for Practitioners Working with Young Clients during EMDR Therapy

Working with young clients during Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy requires a thoughtful and tailored approach. Here are some tips to help practitioners navigate the unique challenges of working with children and adolescents:

  1. Create a safe and nurturing environment: Ensure that the therapy space is welcoming and comfortable for young clients. Use child-friendly materials and decor to create a sense of familiarity and ease.
  2. Use age-appropriate language: When explaining concepts or discussing emotions, use language that is accessible and understandable for young clients. Avoid using jargon or complex terminology that may confuse or overwhelm them.
  3. Incorporate play and creative expression: Utilize play therapy techniques or creative activities to engage young clients and facilitate their healing process. Drawing, storytelling, or using toys can help them express themselves and process their experiences in a non-threatening way.
  4. Prioritize self-regulation skills: Help young clients develop coping strategies and self-regulation skills that they can use outside of therapy. Teach them simple techniques like deep breathing or grounding exercises to manage distressing emotions or triggers.
  5. Be flexible and adaptable: Children and adolescents may have shorter attention spans or may need breaks during therapy. Be willing to adjust the session length or structure to accommodate their needs and maintain their engagement.
  6. Collaborate with caregivers: Regularly communicate with parents or caregivers to understand the child's progress outside of therapy and address any concerns. Involve them in the treatment plan and provide them with resources or strategies to support their child's healing journey.
    By implementing these tips, practitioners can effectively support and guide young clients through the EMDR therapy process, helping them find healing and resilience in their recovery from childhood trauma.

Potential Challenges and Solutions in EMDR Therapy with Children and Adolescents

While Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating childhood trauma, there are some unique challenges that practitioners may encounter when working with children and adolescents. One potential challenge is the limited attention span and ability to focus for extended periods. Young minds may become restless or disengaged during therapy sessions, making it difficult to fully process traumatic memories.
To overcome this challenge, practitioners can incorporate creative activities or play therapy techniques into the session to keep young clients engaged and interested. By using drawing, storytelling, or playing with toys, children and adolescents can express their emotions and experiences in a more accessible and non-threatening way.
Another challenge is the difficulty children may have in articulating their emotions or experiences verbally. Young clients may struggle to find the right words or may not have developed the language skills to fully express themselves.
In this case, practitioners can utilize alternative methods of communication, such as art or play therapy, to help young clients express their feelings and experiences. These non-verbal techniques can bypass the limitations of language and provide a safe and effective way for children and adolescents to process their trauma.
Additionally, children and adolescents may require more support and guidance outside of therapy sessions. This can be challenging if they do not have a stable support system or caregivers who are actively involved in their healing process.
To address this challenge, practitioners can collaborate with parents or caregivers, providing them with resources and strategies to support their child's recovery. Regular communication and check-ins can help identify any additional needs or concerns and ensure that the young client receives consistent support throughout their healing journey.

As always, if you feel your child could benefit from EMDR therapy please reach out and give out office a call at 631-503-1539 or fill out a consultation request form.

-Valerie Smith, LMSW

Are you looking for an EMDR therapist near you? If so, you are not alone. Many people are searching for qualified EMDR therapists in their area to help them with a variety of issues. The search for an EMDR therapist near me can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With the right resources and tips, you can easily find a qualified EMDR therapist near you to help you with your unique needs. In this blog post, we will outline the steps you can take to make the search for an EMDR therapist near me simpler.

What is EMDR?

If you're searching for an EMDR therapist near me, you may be wondering what EMDR actually is. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is a psychotherapeutic modality that helps people who have experienced a life-changing event, especially if the event was traumatic in nature. 

EMDR works by reducing and even eliminating the negative emotional burden attached to the trauma. Numerous studies have supported the efficacy of EMDR for the treatment of trauma and PTSD. In fact, EMDR is particularly beneficial for those who have suffered a single traumatic event. 

During an EMDR session, the patient focuses on a specific traumatic memory while simultaneously paying attention to an external stimuli, such as moving their eyes back and forth. This technique gives the brain space to “digest” and release the previously unprocessed trauma. 

The EMDR process is an 8 stage process that is carried out by a qualified EMDR therapist over the course of several weeks. Some patients may show improvements as early as the third or fourth session. If you're looking for an EMDR therapist near me, it's important to find someone who is qualified and experienced in this therapeutic technique.

Consider whether you prefer weekly EMDR or intensive EMDR

When searching for an EMDR therapist near me, it's important to consider whether you prefer weekly EMDR or intensive EMDR. Weekly therapy provides a slower, more gradual approach to processing traumatic memories and developing coping mechanisms for complex trauma. This approach can be beneficial for those who need to integrate therapy into their daily lives and reduce the intensity of their emotions.

On the other hand, EMDR intensive offers a different approach that can provide transformative results for clients dealing with complex trauma and C-PTSD. An intensive approach involves longer therapy sessions over a shorter period of time, allowing for faster progress and the ability to process traumatic memories at a deeper level. Additionally, the increased accountability and focus on specific problems can be incredibly helpful.

Ultimately, the decision between weekly therapy and EMDR intensive comes down to personal preference and individual needs. It's important to find a qualified therapist who can help guide you through this decision-making process and develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

When investing in your mental health, it's important not to let the cost or time commitment deter you from taking the necessary steps towards a brighter future. By prioritizing your mental health and committing to therapy with a qualified EMDR therapist near me, you can work towards healing and creating a better quality of life for yourself.

Look in the following directories

If you're searching for an EMDR therapist near me, you'll want to explore different directories. Luckily, there are a few helpful platforms that can aid in your search. 

One of the most popular directories for finding a therapist is Psychology Today. This website features an easy-to-use filter system that allows you to narrow down your search by location, specialty, and even insurance coverage. With their verification process, you can rest assured that the clinicians listed on the website are qualified to practice therapy.

Another directory to consider is Good Therapy. Like Psychology Today, Good Therapy has a verification process to ensure that clinicians listed on their platform are licensed professionals. They also offer filter features, making it easier for you to find an EMDR therapist near you.

If you want to specifically find an EMDR therapist near me, check out the EMDRIA website. EMDRIA is the credentialing body for EMDR therapists, meaning that they can verify who is credentialed as an EMDR therapist in your area. You can use their directory to find clinicians who have completed EMDR training and certification.

Keep in mind that these directories are only tools to aid in your search. It's important to also read the reviews and visit the therapist's website to get a better understanding of their approach and experience. Once you've narrowed down your options, schedule a few consultations to see who you fit best with.

Read the Reviews!

Now that you have searched for an EMDR therapist near me, it's time to start researching. One of the best ways to learn more about a potential therapist is by reading reviews. It's important to note that not all reviews are created equal. You want to find reviews that give specific information about the therapist's use of EMDR therapy.

To find reviews, start by looking on the therapist's website or social media profiles. Many therapists will post reviews from clients. Another great place to look is on Google or Yelp. Type in "EMDR therapist near me" and then read through the reviews of any therapists that come up in your search results.

When reading reviews, pay attention to the following:

- Are clients mentioning that the therapist is specifically trained in EMDR therapy?

- Do they mention any improvements in their symptoms or how EMDR therapy helped them?

- Are there any negative reviews about the therapist's use of EMDR therapy?

It's important to note that every therapist will have some negative reviews. What's important is to look for patterns. If multiple people mention that the therapist doesn't use EMDR therapy effectively or is not trained in it, that should be a red flag.

Reading reviews is a great way to get a sense of what working with a specific EMDR therapist near me might be like. It can also help you narrow down your list of potential therapists. However, don't make your final decision based solely on reviews. It's important to schedule consultations and talk with potential therapists to see if you are a good fit.

Schedule a few consultations to see who you fit best with

Now that you've done your research on EMDR and found potential therapists through directories and reviews, it's time to schedule some consultations to see who you fit best with. Keep in mind that just because a therapist is trained in EMDR, it doesn't necessarily mean they are fully competent or continuing their education. 

During these consultations, be sure to ask about their level of EMDR training and experience. Are they continuing their education and receiving ongoing consultation? Have they received their Level 1 or 2 status from EMDRIA? These are important questions to ask to ensure you're getting the best possible care. 

It's also crucial to trust your gut when searching for the right fit. Who did you feel most comfortable with? Who was easiest to talk to? Who seemed to understand your needs and what you're looking for in therapy? 

At Long Island EMDR, we understand how important it is to find the right therapist. That's why we offer free consultations to help you find a therapist that is the best fit for you. Don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with us to see if we can help you on your journey to healing. Remember, with a little research and some consultations, you can find an EMDR therapist near me that is right for you.

Sending Love & Light,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW

Are you dealing with complex trauma and looking for an effective, cost-efficient solution? EMDR intensives may be the answer. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-based therapy that can help individuals suffering from C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). EMDR intensives are shorter, more intensive sessions of EMDR, compared to the traditional weekly therapy. In this blog post, we will be discussing how EMDR intensives can provide transformative results and how they are more cost-effective than weekly therapy.

What is an EMDR intensive?

EMDR intensive therapy is a powerful treatment option for individuals struggling with complex trauma or C-PTSD. An EMDR intensive is a condensed and focused period of time for counseling, providing efficient and effective relief for those who are emotionally suffering. This therapy method involves a dedicated period of time ranging from three hours to multiple days in one week. 

It's important to note that EMDR intensive therapy is not for everyone, as the goal is to follow the natural healing process. However, for those who are able to commit to this intensive psychotherapeutic approach, it can help reduce distress around traumatic or adverse events, shift long-held beliefs, and ultimately help approach life and relationships in a more aligned way. Investing in your mental health through an EMDR intensive may be a life-changing decision.

What are the benefits of an EMDR intensive?

EMDR intensives offer numerous benefits, especially for those suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). Here are a few key advantages:

1. Condensed format: EMDR intensives allow clients to make significant progress in a shorter period than traditional weekly therapy sessions. This condensed format can help eliminate weeks or months of living with trauma symptoms.

2. Reduced lost work time: Since sessions are completed over two or three days, it greatly reduces lost work time, making it easier to fit treatment into a busy schedule.

3. Cost-effectiveness: Although there is a larger upfront cost, the shorter duration of treatment overall can save money in the long run.

4. Shorter wait times: Waiting lists for good trauma treatment providers can be long. However, with EMDR intensives, clients can get through treatment in the same week they start, reducing wait times.

5. State-of-the-art modality: Intensives are being studied in the literature as a state-of-the-art modality for trauma, making them an effective treatment option.

6. Accessibility: Clients who are out of town or out of state can take advantage of access to excellent treatment quickly, making only one trip to complete treatment. Even local clients with transportation or childcare complications can make arrangements for a single weekend.

Overall, EMDR intensives are an effective and efficient way to address trauma and other mental health concerns, making them a valuable investment in your overall well-being.

How does an EMDR intensive differ from weekly therapy?

While weekly therapy sessions can be highly effective, an EMDR intensive offers a different approach that can provide transformative results for clients dealing with complex trauma and C-PTSD. One of the main benefits of an EMDR intensive is the ability to make faster progress and process traumatic memories at a deeper level. This is because the intensive approach allows clients to fully immerse themselves in therapy and stay focused on their therapeutic goals over a short period of time.

Another key advantage of the intensive approach is the increased accountability that comes with working with a therapist for an extended period of time. Both the client and therapist have a heightened sense of responsibility and commitment to the treatment process. The intensive approach can also be ideal for clients who have one or two specific problems they want to work on.

However, weekly therapy also has its benefits. Gradual progress, better integration of the therapy process into daily life, reduced intensity of emotions, and more flexibility with scheduling can all be important factors for some clients. Ultimately, the choice between an intensive or weekly approach will depend on the client's specific needs, therapeutic goals, and personal preferences.

Regardless of which approach a client chooses, investing in one's mental health should be a top priority. By committing to therapy and working with a qualified therapist, clients can make progress towards healing and moving forward in their lives. Don't let the cost or time commitment deter you from taking the necessary steps towards a brighter future.

Why invest in your mental health now?

When it comes to mental health care, economic value is an important consideration. While weekly therapy sessions may seem like the more affordable option, investing in an EMDR intensive can actually be more cost-effective in the long run. A large, well-designed randomized study found that an intensive 1-week course of evidence-based PTSD therapy had the same outcome as delivery of the same treatment over several months - except that the results were achieved much more quickly in the intensive format  (Ehlers et al, 2014). This means that investing in an EMDR intensive can save you time and money, while also providing more rapid relief from symptoms.

But why are EMDR intensives so effective? For starters, they differ from weekly therapy in that they involve a much more concentrated and focused treatment approach. Instead of spreading out treatment over several months, an EMDR intensive condenses treatment into a week-long period, allowing for greater treatment efficiency and a reduced risk of destabilization. Additionally, an intensive format helps to reduce the risk of life crises disrupting treatment, as clients can fully immerse themselves in the therapeutic process (Greenwald et al, 2020).

Perhaps most importantly, EMDR intensives offer rapid results, which can help to prevent further suffering or harm from symptoms of C-PTSD. This is due in part to the fact that the intensive format eliminates time spent on activities like checking in at the beginning of each session, addressing current crises and concerns, focusing on stabilizing and coping skills that the client won't need after trauma healing and assisting the client in regaining composure at the end of the session. All of these factors help to make EMDR intensives a highly effective and cost-effective option for those looking to prioritize their mental health and well-being.

Could I benefit from intensive EMDR treatment?

If you have experienced any type of trauma, including complex trauma, then EMDR treatment could potentially benefit you. Complex PTSD, or C-PTSD, can result from ongoing trauma and can lead to symptoms such as hypervigilance, emotional dysregulation, and difficulty with trust and attachment. EMDR treatment is effective in addressing the symptoms of C-PTSD, as well as other types of trauma.

Some signs that you may benefit from EMDR treatment include:

- Flashbacks or intrusive thoughts related to the trauma

- Avoidance of certain people or situations

- Difficulty regulating your emotions, such as feeling numb or disconnected

- Difficulty sleeping or experiencing nightmares

- Chronic pain or other physical symptoms related to the trauma

EMDR treatment can help to reduce these symptoms and improve your overall mental health and well-being. 

 EMDR intensives are particularly effective in treating complex trauma, or C-PTSD, as they allow individuals to delve deeper into their traumatic experiences and process them more fully. Unlike weekly therapy, where the focus may be more on managing symptoms, EMDR intensives are designed to target the root cause of the trauma and provide a transformative experience. By dedicating several days or weeks to an intensive EMDR session, individuals can make significant progress in a shorter period and experience a more lasting impact on their mental health. Additionally, EMDR intensives can be more cost-effective than weekly therapy, as the total number of sessions required may be lower overall. Overall, investing in your mental health through EMDR intensives can provide transformative results and lead to a more fulfilling and joyful life.

If you are interested in exploring whether EMDR intensive treatment could benefit you, feel free to give our office a call to set up a free consultation.

Sending Love & Light,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW

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