Many teenagers experience trauma, it’s just a fact of life. Whether it’s a natural disaster, accident, or abuse, many teens go through it and need treatment afterwards. While there are many treatments available, one in particular is beginning to show more and more positive results: EMDR therapy.

EMDR therapyEye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy started being used in the 1980s and has been gaining traction ever since. It has been shown to be extremely effective in helping teenagers work through and cope with traumatic events.

EMDR therapy sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel

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. It’s theorized that this works because of a link to the stage of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM).

During this stage, with our eyes closed, our eyes move back and forth. Our brain activates and begins to go through new information, repeating important facts and moments, learning, and processing what happened throughout the day. It’s an essential part of functioning.

The theory is that moving our eyes back and forth while awake activates this ability to “process.” 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 extremely emotional response when thought of.

Currently, EMDR therapy is used to treat trauma quite often. It’s used alongside other therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, in order to strengthen effectiveness.

Solstice East could help your daughter

If you believe your daughter is struggling with processing trauma or has a mental health issue, it’s critical to seek out a professional for further guidance on how to best help her thrive.

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, bullying, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. We strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness through meaningful therapy and a nurturing environment.

For more information about how we use EMDR therapy at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.