Here are 10 ways that EMDR therapy can help teens heal from trauma.
- EMDR therapy is effective and works fast-teenagers and their parents usually don’t want to commit to years of weekly therapy. Research shows that with single incident traumas EMDR therapy can resolve traumatic symptoms in a matter of 6-10 sessions.
- Teenagers need sleep even more than adults do-because the adolescent brain is still developing they need a average of 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Nightmares, as a result of trauma, will often interfere with sleep. EMDR is effective at treating trauma memories thereby reducing or eliminating nightmares. This allows teens to sleep.
- EMDR allows healing to take place without alot of talking– EMDR is different than “talk therapy”. The EMDR process targets traumatic memories that are causing the teen distress. This therapy is different than other trauma treatments because clients do not need to share the memories in detail to benefit from the treatment. Teenagers who struggle to talk about their experiences often do well with EMDR therapy.
- Eliminate the need for psychotropic medications-Because EMDR therapy is so effective at treating trauma many of their symptoms are reduced or eliminated. This makes EMDR a natural approach and a great alternative to psychotropic medications.
- Reduce isolation-Many teens who have been traumatized withdraw from family and friends and choose to spend more time alone. This behavior can be a direct result of feeling overwhelmed by the traumatic experience. Teens often feel triggered by too much stimulation including noise around them, movement and loud voices or talking. EMDR processes the traumatic experiences so they no longer “relive” the memory in the present moment.
- Gain independence and empowerment-For teenagers, friends and peer groups are very important. By comparing themselves with their friends, a teenager gets a sense of how ‘normal’ they are. Teenagers tend to seesaw between independence and insecurity after a distressing event. Healing from trauma allows teenagers to be independent again and to gain a sense of control over their life.
- Be successful at school-Teens with trauma find themselves lost in thoughts, experiencing flashbacks of the event and overwhelmed with fear and strong feelings. Sometimes they would rather distract themselves than think about the event. This behavior makes it difficult to focus on school and complete assignments. Some students struggle to even attend school on a regular basis. EMDR therapy treats the trauma and allows teenagers to heal so that they can focus on school.
- EMDR creates resiliency– Experiencing trauma is a part of life. EMDR helps to process traumatic experiences that teens have so that they can handle new traumatic or negative experiences in a more resilient way. When teens have a chance to heal and grow from past traumatic and stressful experiences they are able to use what they have learned about themselves and not feel so overwhelmed or depleted to handle future life stressors.
- Reduce physical symptoms in their body-The normal healing and recovery process of trauma involves your body coming down out of a state of heightened arousal. In other words, your internal alarms turn off, the high levels of energy subside, and your body re-sets itself to a normal state of balance and equilibrium. Typically, this should occur within about one month of the event. If a teens body doesn’t reset after a traumatic experience EMDR is helpful in processing the experiences safely so that the body can reset and heal. This reduces or eliminates panic, anxiety, worry, stress, sleeplessness and a “on guard” response in your teenager.
- Heal from loss and get through divorce- The loss of a loved one such as a friend or family member or someone that they know can be difficult for teenagers to process. Another type of loss that is painful is their parents divorce. It is painful for parents, for kids, and for close friends and family. Teens experience a variety of feelings when loss happens just like adults. Sometimes teens feel responsible or to blame, feel like they need to take care of other family members or be “the adult” in the family. Other times they feel helpless, angry and confused. EMDR can help teens process loss and any negative beliefs that they might be thinking about themselves.
Do you have a teenager who would benefit from EMDR therapy?
Do you have questions and want to know more about how EMDR therapy will help your child?
Are you a teen and want to know more about how this type of therapy will help you?
Don’t wait call today. Angi Smith, LMHC is a EMDR therapist who works with teens and she can help you. Please call her at 503-314-9337.