Older men and women are faced with many challenges in their later life including; the death of a spouse, friends and relatives. They also face growing medical issues and life transitions which can lead to depression and anxiety. Also, when new trauma takes place in their life it can create a ‘domino effect’ reactivating old traumatic experiences from their youth. A special challenge for seniors seeking treatment is related to diminishing cognitive impairment.
Research in EMDR treatment shows that seniors ages 70-85 years old can effectively receive EMDR treatment even with diminishing cognitive abilities in the mild to moderate range. In order for EMDR to be successful clients must be able to think of the most disturbing part of the memory or have a felt sense of it. They do not need to share it in detail or recall all aspects of the memory. Besides the memory they also must share the negative thought or belief of themselves when they think of the memory, what they prefer to believe about themselves, their emotions and body sensations. This can all take place with very little dialogue and using simple language.
EMDR is quick and effective. Clients don’t have to spend years in “talk therapy”. This makes it a ideal type of therapy for seniors. It is never too late to seek help and to live life to the fullest. EMDR therapy for the geriatric population is showing great success in reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and decreasing the number of somatic “body” complaints. At Vancouver EMDR Therapy we enjoy working with seniors. We are kind and patient and experienced with the needs of this special population.