When we hear the word “therapy” many people’s minds go to laying on a couch and talking through their feelings. The reality is that there are many different forms of therapy from family therapy to Cognitive Behavior Therapy. For teens processing trauma, whether that is from being bullied in school or experiencing physical harm, some therapies may be more effective than others. And while it can be difficult to find the right therapy for your teen who has experienced trauma, one practice that can be incredibly beneficial is EMDR.
What is EMDR?
EMDR or Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. EMDR works by stimulating the brain in ways that lead it to process unprocessed or unhealed memories, leading to a natural restoration and adaptive resolution, decreased emotional charge and linkage to positive memory networks.
During an EMDR session, your therapist will move their finger back and forth in front of your face and ask you to track the motion with your eyes. At the same time, the therapist will ask you to recall a traumatic event. This will include the emotions and body sensations that go along with it. Gradually, your therapist will guide you to shift your thoughts to more pleasant ones, they may use finger movements, hand or toe tapping, or musical tones.
People who use the technique believe that EMDR can weaken the effect of negative emotions. Before and after each EMDR treatment, your therapist will ask you to rate your level of distress. The hope is that your traumatic memories will become less disabling.
How Can EMDR Help Teens with Trauma
EMDR can help teens who have experienced trauma address and work through those memories, sensations, and emotions and resume normal, adaptive, and healthy processing. An experience that may have triggered a negative response may no longer affect them the way it used to after EMDR treatment. The hope is that those difficult experiences will likely become less upsetting.
Another benefit of EMDR is that it is rooted in mindfulness and nonjudgmental awareness that can lead to transformative healing. It is about becoming aware of the reactions around a traumatic memory and learning how to redirect those thought patterns. After a successful course of EMDR therapy, trauma survivors can learn to approach situations with equanimity and flexibility, yet appropriate caution.
Solstice East Can Help
The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff.
We believe that a holistic approach is an effective way to help young women truly heal from trauma. Instead of focusing on one specific “problem” area or issue, we treat the entire person (mind, body and spirit). It is our belief that cutting-edge and evidence-based therapeutic approaches such as EMDR, neurofeedback, somatic experiencing, Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and gender-specific addictions treatment are essential to your daughter’s healing process. For more information please call (828) 471-0221.