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Using EMDR to Help Adolescents with Anxiety

emdr for adolescents with anxiety

Anxiety is a natural part of the adolescent experience, but when it becomes more severe and persistent, it can interfere with an individual’s social, academic, and occupational functioning. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based therapy that has been shown to effectively help adolescents manage their anxiety symptoms. Let’s take a look at how EMDR works and why its efficacy is so important for adolescents with anxiety.

What Is EMDR?

EMDR uses bilateral stimulation such as audio or visual cues to help individuals reprocess traumatic memories that are causing distress. During this process, individuals are encouraged to focus on the emotion associated with the traumatic memory while engaging in eye movement, left-right hand tapping, or audio tones. This activity helps the individual channel the energy from negative emotions into positive ones by helping them reframe their thoughts about themselves and the event. By focusing on this energy shift, clients can move beyond just understanding what happened to make meaning out of it—which can be a crucial element of healing.

How Can EMDR Help Adolescents With Anxiety?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that has been proven to be especially beneficial for adolescents struggling with anxiety. This technique involves working closely with a therapist or counsellor to identify, process, and release negative feelings associated with the cause of anxiety in a safe, supportive environment. The goal is to help young people identify internal coping strategies that can be used in place of avoidance behaviors often associated with anxiety. EMDR also utilizes bilateral stimulation – through alternate left/right eye movements, alternate auditory tones, or taps on alternating sides of the body – to create emotional balance resulting in greater resilience and resources. All these factors combined make EMDR an effective tool for helping adolescent overcome their anxieties and develop the tools needed for lifelong emotional well-being.

The Benefits of Utilizing EMDR for Adolescents with Anxiety

One of the major benefits of using EMDR for adolescents with anxiety is that it helps them develop new coping skills that they can use in their daily lives. After going through an EMDR session, adolescents will be better equipped to recognize when their anxiety levels are rising and they will know how to take steps to bring them down in a healthy way. Additionally, EMDR sessions help adolescents gain insight into why they feel anxious in certain situations which can be especially beneficial for teens who have difficulty articulating their feelings or who don’t understand why they feel anxious in certain situations. Finally, another advantage of using EMDR for adolescents is that it can help them become more self-aware and self-compassionate. Through guided imagery exercises during an EMDR session, teens learn how to show themselves love and compassion even in difficult moments—which can be invaluable tools for managing anxiety throughout life. In short, utilizing EMDR as a treatment option for teenagers can provide long-term relief from anxiety symptoms while also helping them develop valuable coping skills that will serve them well into adulthood.

What Can An Adolescent With Anxiety Expect From EMDR?

An adolescent with anxiety can expect to benefit from psychotherapy, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a psychotherapy technique supported by research that helps people heal from psychological distress and trauma. During EMDR sessions, the psychotherapist will work with the adolescent to identify sources of anxiety, process distressing memories, and influence thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. In addition to EMDR psychotherapy, their counsellor may also recommend counselling for adolescents suffering from anxiety which involves supportive conversations about anxiety symptoms, problem-solving strategies, or imaginative techniques. With commitment and effort during psychotherapy sessions, the adolescent can expect improvements in feelings of fear and tension related to their anxiety.

How Long Does EMDR Take To Work For An Adolescent Suffering/Dealing With Anxiety?

For an adolescent suffering/dealing with anxiety, psychotherapy through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can be a helpful and effective approach. The length of time that EMDR takes to work depends on many factors, including the severity of the disorder, and how motivated the client is to face their fears. More moderate cases of anxiety generally require 7-10 psychotherapy sessions with a therapist, however more severe cases can take longer. In these cases, it’s important for both the client and their counselor to discuss regular feedback in order to understand the progress being made in each session. Working together with a qualified professional can help ensure that meaningful changes are taking place during psychotherapy and ultimately allow clients to move away from their anxiety.

How Do I Know If EMDR Is The Right Treatment For An Adolescent With Anxiety?

Deciding whether or not Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy is the right treatment for an adolescent with anxiety would depend on the individual and their specific needs. It’s recommended they speak with a qualified therapist in order to get an accurate assessment of their condition and discuss potential courses of action. A psychotherapist can better understand the causes of an adolescent’s distress, how it manifests, and what kind of likely outcomes may be expected from treatment. Counseling sessions that focus on stress management strategies can be beneficial alongside any other psychotherapy treatments that may be prescribed. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to mental health management but speaking with a psychotherapist about EMDR psychotherapy can help determine if it is best for the individual teen’s needs.

When it comes to treating adolescents who suffer from severe and persistent anxiety symptoms, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy offers many advantages over traditional forms of psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. It helps individuals reprocess traumatic memories associated with their anxiety in order to reframe negative emotions into positive ones; it teaches teens practical coping strategies that they can use in everyday life; and finally, it provides teens with essential self-awareness and self-compassion tools that enable them to manage their anxiety even when faced with difficult situations or challenging emotions. All told, utilizing EMDR as a treatment option for adolescent sufferers of anxiety is an effective approach that should not be overlooked by therapists looking for ways to support this vulnerable population.

If you have any questions or would like to explore further, please book a free, no-charge online appointment with either myself, Joe White, Psychotherapist, or another Kitchener psychotherapist at CARESPACE. We are happy to listen and are here to help!

Joe White

Joe White

Joe will help you develop and implement strategies to manage your anxiety, depression, stress, relationship challenges, trauma and more. Joe is committed to creating a safe and supportive therapeutic environment for you to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly and without fear of criticism. As an experienced Registered Psychotherapist Joe uses an evidence-based approach and is proficient in many modalities including EMDR, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Internal Family Systems (IFS) and more. He has worked with a wide range of clients including special needs, international, newcomer, indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ clients. Where appropriate Joe will coordinate care with other disciplines on the CARESPACE team with a multidisciplinary plan for the best approach. So, if you are struggling, need to work through issues, challenges or are looking to improve your overall well-being, Joe can help!

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