While PTSD treatment for teens is getting more and more attention, there’s still much we need to delve into about effectiveness and efficiency. We’ve just recently gained momentum in convincing the world that PTSD is more than just an issue for soldiers–so now we need to move on to perfecting the treatment.

A recent study has looked into what therapeutic interventions are the most effective for the disorder: the winner seems to be EMDR therapy–a therapy commonly used at Solstice East. 

What is EMDR therapy?

So, what is EMDR therapy you ask? EMDR therapy is a method of working through and accepting adverse memories. You do it by moving your eyes right to left over and over and over again.

I know what you’re thinking, it sounds like something out of a science fiction book, right? There can’t be a way to help trauma victims that is as easy as moving your eyes back and forth many, many times. Well, it exists–and it works.

In the average session, an individual is told to focus on their traumatic event, whether it was a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one, or going through abuse. Then they begin the eye movement.

The theory is that moving our eyes back and forth while awake activates this ability to “process” much like we do in Rapid Eye Movement (REM). By focusing on a negative experience and moving your eyes, you’re helping your brain process what happened, allowing for a more objective view on it. Instead of an unprocessable, distressing memory, it becomes a more “normal” memory–one that doesn’t immediately elicit an emotional response when thought of.

The research backing the therapy

In a recent study by the University of Amsterdam and GGZ Rivierduinen, researchers found that “children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) can be successfully treated with only a few hours of EMDR or cognitive behavioral writing therapy (CBWT).”

While studies have been done on the effectiveness of EMDR for adults, little has been done for adolescents and children. This study sought to change that.

In the study, they used over 100 children and adolescents. They found that the average number of sessions needed to reach a successful treatment was four. EMDR was found to be the fastest at reaching positive outcomes, averaging at about 2 hours and 20 minutes. The did follow-up interviews a year later and found that the results were long lasting.

This is incredibly important information because out of children who are exposed to a trauma, around 16 percent will develop PTSD–but many of those children never actually receive PTSD treatment. EMDR gives professionals a fast and effective route that will likely help a child struggling with trauma.

If you believe your daughter is struggling with trauma or another mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for guidance.

Solstice East offers PTSD treatment for girls

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our students often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. We also offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.

For more information about our PTSD treatment at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.