Anxiety is a common issue among children and adolescents, with reported rates ranging from 5-20%. Although anxiety can be managed with psychotherapy, traditional talk therapy can be challenging for younger children. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a method of psychotherapy that has been shown to be extremely effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in children and adolescents. Let’s explore the benefits of this technique and how it works.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a form of trauma-focused psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987. It has since been recognized as an effective treatment for reducing symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Over the past two decades, numerous studies have demonstrated that EMDR is also beneficial in treating anxiety, depression, phobias, grief, grief reactions to trauma, substance abuse, anger management issues, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
How Does EMDR Work?
During an EMDR session, the therapist will ask the client to focus on a particular memory or experience while being guided through certain eye movements or body-tapping techniques. This helps to activate both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously so that information can be processed more effectively. As the client focuses on their experience while being guided through these techniques by their therapist, they are able to process their feelings about the event more easily. Through this process, clients are able to gain insight into their thought patterns and behaviors and make changes accordingly.
How Can EMDR Help Children With Anxiety?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) psychotherapy is a highly efficient form of counselling that can help children with anxiety. After establishing a strong therapeutic relationship with their psychotherapist, children who suffer from an anxiety disorder can benefit substantially from this treatment. The psychotherapist will use bilateral stimulation alongside mental visualization to help the child work through disturbing memories that contribute to their anxiety. By revisiting traumatic events of the past with the help of an engaging therapist, children can eventually grow and become emotionally healthy, mature individuals.
Benefits for Children With Anxiety
Using EMDR as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for children with anxiety offers several benefits over traditional talk therapy alone. The method allows children to process difficult emotions without having to verbalize them in detail or relive traumatic events; this can help young clients feel more comfortable discussing difficult topics. Additionally, because EMDR requires clients to only focus on one memory at a time—rather than trying to tackle multiple issues all at once—it can provide quicker results than traditional talk therapy. This is especially beneficial for young clients who may not have the attention span or patience needed for lengthy sessions.
What Can A Child With Anxiety Expect From EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) psychotherapy is a unique, non-invasive type of psychotherapy that seeks to reduce the psychological distress associated with distressing memories. It is an effective treatment plan for children who suffer from anxiety and seek counselling with a trained psychotherapist. The process typically involves an eight-step procedure where therapists explore the troubling event in detail, desensitize the patient through the use of bilateral stimulation such as eye movements, tones, or tapping stimuli, and ultimately integrate the experience into a more manageable memory. During this process, the child’s therapist encourages and welcomes open dialogue as well as various forms of expression including images and art designs. EMDR is beneficial for those experiencing anxiety as it offers discovery, guidance, and support throughout individual journeys.
How Long Will EMDR Take To Work For A Child Suffering/Dealing With Anxiety?
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy is a form of counseling designed to help children (and adults) deal with the effects of traumatic life events. This type of psychotherapy has been proven to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. For a child suffering from anxiety, EMDR can be an incredibly effective way to relieve their distress and help guide them through the healing process. While there is no definitive answer to “How long will EMDR take to work?”, it really depends on the individual case and their progress with a therapist. The therapist works closely with the child in order to break down a complex situation into smaller, more manageable pieces. With proper guidance by the therapist, and willingness on behalf of the child to go through this process — seeking support and alleviating emotion together — EMDR psychotherapy increases self-awareness which leads to greater control over thoughts and feelings.
How Do I Know If EMDR Is The Right Treatment For A Child With Anxiety?
When determining if Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy is the right treatment for a child with anxiety, it is best to speak to a qualified psychotherapist or counsellor. This professional can discuss the child’s specific anxieties and determine if EMDR would be suitable for providing relief. A therapist must determine if EMDR treatment should be used alone, combined with other psychotherapy methods, or as part of another treatment plan. Structured questioning and a careful review of the child’s personal history will ensure that the best decision is made when choosing an appropriate form of psychotherapy.
EMDR has proven itself time and again as an effective tool for helping children manage their anxiety symptoms. By providing a safe space where clients are free from judgment and expectations—and allowing them to focus on only one issue at a time—this technique can provide far greater insight into underlying issues than traditional talk therapy alone. If you’re considering using EMDR as part of your child’s treatment plan for anxiety symptoms, it’s important that you consult with your child’s doctor or therapist first before proceeding further. With proper guidance and support from your child’s healthcare team, this promising therapy could offer tremendous relief from anxious feelings in no time!
If you have any questions or would like to explore further, please book a free, no-charge online appointment with either myself, Sarah Jackson, BBA, MACP, RP (Qualifying), or one of the other psychotherapists at CARESPACE Health+Wellness in Kitchener and Waterloo. We are happy to listen and are here to help!