Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Trauma Treatment – Client-Level Interventions (Child & Adolescent)
Alexis E. Rodriguez
University of South Florida
Children and adolescents encounter stress trauma and mental disorders every day or through their whole life. The effects of these things can last a very long time or create a stigma for the child. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a therapy that is used to help adults and children deal with the symptoms of PTSD, server phobias, and sometimes server mental disorders. EMDR is well known for helping people with in its first few sessions. In this paper I will be talking about how EMDR helps remove the symptoms of severe phobias, PTSD and some Severe mental disorders in children and adolescents.
Keywords: PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder, EMDR- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Trauma Treatment – Client-Level Interventions (Child & Adolescent).
EMDR was made in 1987 by Francine Shapiro. She came up with the idea while she was walking in the park one day and realized that eye movement decreased negative emotion. She also found that eye movement by itself was not a way to create comprehensive therapeutic effects. She then added other treatment elements to help bring up EMDR. This included a cognitive component and developed a standard procedure that she called Eye Movement Desensitization.
She conducted one study and the group that got EMD had less rates and showed really good results. She did other experiments and saw it was working but still had the “experimental trial” label on it. Shapiro taught licensed clinicians the therapy so they can use it at their clinics, she made sure they were properly trained by the EMDR institute. By 1995 it became an evidence-based practice.
The population for EMDR is any who faces server phobias, PTSD, or server mental disorders. There is really no set age range it works for everyone. This therapy helps people because it will see what caused their trauma in the and what is triggering it now. The process of delivering EMDR is out of different places like hospitals, schools, outpatient clinics, etc. EMDR is an 8-phase psychotherapy treatment.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder. It happens in most people who have experienced extreme traumatic events. For example, some of these events are combat, crime and natural disaster. People who have PTSD most of the time relive the event/events they went through. This could happen via intrusive memories, or flashbacks. They could also experience this through nightmares. People who experience PTSD will avoid anything that reminds them of that trauma. They can also be so anxious that it will disrupt their lives.
The statistics for PTSD are going up and over. Countless number of children and adolescents are impacted by PTSD. Some of the traumatic events children and adolescents can go through are neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse. By 2011 the National Center for PTSD found that 78.5% of children were neglected by parents or guardians. 17.6% were physically abused and 9.1% were sexually abused. For older children different studies were conducted nationally. 46.3% were physically assaulted. 10.2% were child maltreatment, 6.1% were sexually victimized. But in the end 25.3% witnessed domestic or community violence.
5% of children and adolescents have met criteria for PTSD. It is higher for girls than boys. It also increases with age. 5% may not seem like a big number but only a handful of children actually seek out mental health help. So, 5% is a big number for the population size we have been given.
25% experience some kind of anxiety disorder. 1.4% of children and adolescents experience a phobia called social anxiety disorder. It is really rare for them to experience this one. If they do it starts in the early adolescent years. 9.2% of children and adolescents have some type of phobia.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a complex method it combines elements of behavioral and client centered approaches. The process for EMDR is the client is asked to concentrate on the distressing traumatic memory that affects them the most. Then they will move their eyes rapidly from side to side. They do this by following the therapist finger over the visual field.
After each set of 30s of eyes movement, the client will be asked to report anything that came up. This could be a number of things. For example, they could have been an image, thought, emotion or physical sensation. The next step is to have another set done based on what the client feels has changed in their feeling or mind. Different sets will be performed until the client reports that they don’t feel any distress and they can have a full positive perspective on things.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a something EMDR tries to help reduce. PTSD is a trauma or stress related disorder that is a result from an exposure to actual or threatened events. For example, death, serious injury, or sexual violence. People with PTSD also have persistent difficulties that negatively affect their life in social interactions, at work, or other areas of functioning.
Phobias are another thing that EMDR is known for helping reduce. A phobia is an anxiety disorder. People with phobias have a strong fear of something that poses little or no real threat to them. Examples of phobias are social, highest, water, spiders, tunnels etc. To be classified as a phobia the person has to have it for 6 months or longer. There are three factors to why people have phobias they are biological, family, and environmental.
10% of adolescents have specific phobia disorder. With having this they are also in line to have a thing called a co-occurring disorder. This is when the person has one or more mental disorder at the same time. Some of the disorders tied in to phobia are, depression, substance use disorder, and another type of anxiety could happen as well.
There is one study that show that EMDR works. In this study they had two different groups one was Treatment as usual(TAU)+EMDR and then just TAU. They randomly assigned patients in to the groups as they entered the clinic. It was a pretest/posttest study. The study could have some third problem variables. One is because it was held in a clinic and another is that the traumatic events are not all the same. But the study still offers relevant information.
The findings of the study state that introducing certain specific EMDR procedures to traumatized patients in a group therapy setting is safe and positive. Is also says that it offers benefits to the psychoeducational work being done for post-traumatic stress disorder. This therapy has to be done in a very directive and controlled manner. This study allowed EMDR and group therapy to help patients tolerate the triggers for their PTSD. This study was done at Coruña University Hospital.
In a paper that was written by Guinevere Tufnell it shows that EMDR works on children with PTSD. There were four children that were helped and their parents/ guardian. Three of the four children had PTSD symptoms for over two years. Treatment was completed within 5-7 sessions. This could take up to 2-6 months. The sessions of EMDR last from 2-4 hours each.
In the article each child is using EDMR in three sessions. The first session would be mostly talking to the parent/guardian about what happened to the child and so forth. Then the next session would be talking the child about what happen. For example, one was with having the little kid sit on his moms lap and help tell the story of his traumatic accident in his own words.
At the end of the treatment all children were free from PTSD symptoms. One child did have to have further work done with their mother for relationship and special education. To find out if EMDR worked for sure they checked in after 6 months to see how the patients were doing. Every child was still doing good after the treatment.
This article shows that EMDR is useful in the treatment of PTSD symptoms in children. A second fact that was shown in the article is that protocol for children with EMDR needs to be modified and adapted to their developmental stage. Then there is also the point where if the child has PTSD symptoms for over a certain amount of time you have to watch out for complicating or perpetuating factors. The last key point would be that if the parent/guardian needs support or help that we need to give it to them. This is so that way the children have the support and requirements they need.
I think EMDR is an effective treatment for PTSD, and phobias in children and adolescents. It can also be used in adults too. There are plenty of studies that proves that EMDR is successful at treating things. in the first study I talked about it states that the group therapy plus EMDR groups had not one patient who got worse or did not improve. 100% of the patients had some kind of improvement from the symptoms of PTSD. Group therapy alone had a 29.4% of patients get worse or not improve at all.
There are other types of treatment for trauma. One of them is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy. What is done is that we challenge the negative patterns of the thoughts by the person about themselves and the world. The end goal is to alter unwanted behaviors/ behavior patterns.
In one article I found it states that CBT and EMDR are great for helping free patients of trauma symptoms. It says CBT has more experience on this world. Which is true, but EMDR has just about the same amount of reliable evidence to put it up there with CBT. The article also states that EMDR is more effect then CBT in treating trauma in people. This article got its information by looking at a lot of different studies. It also states that CBT might not be good for clinical practice but EMDR is.
So in conclusion, EMDR is a great therapy that could help children and adolescents with trauma. It could be used for freeing patients of symptoms of phobias and PTSD. There is a high number of successful cases of this therapy. It is still coming up but eventually I feel like it out rank cognitive behavioral therapy in the end. I have found out that EMDR can be used starting at the age of 5 years old. This therapy can also be used in adults too. They especially use this kind of therapy for adults who have PTSD from war.
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